March 5, 2018 The Void Vol II (Movie Review)
An ominous, suffocating darkness overtakes and swallows all vision. Amid that endless black emerges a single statement, a definition. Perhaps this is a hint at what will come. “Void,” it reads. “A completely empty space…” as in “the black void of space.”
From this vacuum, six dark tales will soon emanate, comprising a totality known as The Void Vol II. Released everywhere on DVD on February 13, 2018 through SGL Entertainment, and unrelated to Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie 2016 film The Void, The Void Vol II Producers Todd Rodgers and Kevin Machate’s anthology comprises internationally award-winning shorts from emerging filmmakers in numerous genres. The worlds of Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and more open their doors to and, perhaps, from the void.
The first short is Ma’siyet (Disobedience) by first-time Writer/Director Baris Alp. He takes the audience into a strange, totalitarian world centralized within a single apartment complex. Reports on social decay and unrest run endlessly as the camera leers about the increasingly strange apartment denizens.
Alp and Cinematographer Emre Karbek’s visual style tags them as filmmakers worth keeping tabs on. The unconventional Ma’siyet is not concerned with providing definitive answers. Rather, it aims for the viewers to lose themselves in the world. It is clear Alp has big ideas on his mind. His capability for communicating what he perceives as a crumbling world will only grow over time.
Savage Ivy is a short by Actor/Writer and first-time Director Jon Plowman. It is a lean, sleekly executed story. Melissa Haiden (Saints & Strangers 2015, The Siege of Jadotville 2016) plays a woman in crisis who turns to a priest for advice on dealing with her past. While somewhat reliant on dialogue, Plowman demonstrates a knack for foreshadowing and building dread. He is also interested in big ideas. This is a plus.
Somebody to Love, from Phil Haine, is a tale of a man’s quest for perfection in the wrong places. Like the other filmmakers in The Void Vol II, Haine focuses on going into dark places. The story aims for the macabre but comes across as a little forced.
Writer/Director Naor Meningher’s The Rat’s Dilemma takes us to Nazi Germany where Nazi scientists force a Jewish physicist to build a teleportation machine. The cinematography stands out in creating a dingy, industrial, and depressing world. Meningher, like Baris Alp and Jon Plowman, is someone to keep an eye on.
3:14 is Writer/Director Patricio Marin Avelar’s debut and his focus is visual filmmaking. There is little dialogue until the end. He uses a lot of CGI in his tale of a man haunted by mistakes during a late night drive. He is able to convey the man’s desperation well, but the repeated cuts back and forth in time wear out their welcome.
Genesis, by Richard “Dick” Davis, is a post-apocalyptic tale of a lone soldier discovering he may not be alone in his devastated world. The ground here is well tread and does not exactly lead anywhere new, though. That being said, the effects are decent and Davis effectively communicates a sense of despair in his protagonist.
Finally, Mike Piccirillo’s April tells the story of a zombie girl just trying to fit in. This Horror Comedy initially is a welcome departure from the mostly gloomy preceding material. There is a darkly humorous absurdity to the void after all. The central joke in April wears thin somewhat quickly, however.
The brightest aspect about April is the production design, which has become Piccirillo’s bread and butter. His latest work includes art department positions for projects such as 2015’s Jurassic World, 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, and HBO’s Westworld.
So while The Void Vol. II is eager to till darker ground, it is kind of a mixed bag. The filmmakers here are still learning the craft for the most part. Nonetheless, there are bits of these works that stand out. All in all, CrypticRock.com gives The Void Vol. II 2 out of 5 stars.