Review: Flesh of the Void

Director(s)James Quinn
Principal CastMan Without a Face as Priest
Kmsura as The Amputee
Dead Flesh as Rapist
Elektriking as Man in Gas Mask
Release Date2017
Language(s)English
Running Time 77 minutes

What is death? Is it the end of the spirit or does it just mark the end of the physical body? People have always taken comfort in the idea that death is either a void bereft of any sensation or that there’s some kind of afterlife. This highly experimental movie throws those answers out and instead looks at death as the worst, most horrifying, event. Instead of a void, instead of heaven or hell, this a journey into death in its most intimate and horrifying, the end of physical existence and the sensation of the flesh.

There’s not a real plot. There are no real characters. If I’ve lost you already, then you know this movie isn’t for you. This is an experience through the most miserable depths of the human experience and isn’t something that should be touched by the faint of heart. Forget NSFW, there are NSFL scenes in here that haven’t left my head since I saw I first saw this movie. The black and white movie is an assault on the senses and doesn’t care about answering questions or making you feel secure. It only wants to hurt you. It wants to make you despair and break under its torrent of visceral depravity.

The words that come onto the screen are scratched and sharp, like the text in the movie poster above. It cuts into the screen and feels violent, like the movie is being effaced. Quinn uses expired Super 8, modern super 8 , and 16 mm film to capture a variety of different visual effects. Most of the movie is gritty and indecipherable. The horrors come at you in droves. Sometimes they’re blurry, barely at the periphery, showing you just enough to stir your mind into finishing the idea and image at play. Other times, horrifying actions are shown on screen in disturbing long takes that seemingly never end. When the old super 8 film comes into play, the movie takes on a whole new surreal feeling, bombarding the senses and really getting underneath the skin. Most dialogue happens in the form of interspersed poetry, barely heard, and distinctly sinister in tone. Indecipherable noises, and short growls crowd the soundscape and haunting music makes you feel like you’ll never feel safe again.

The movie veers on the line of overly pretentious and deeply meaningful and I could definitely see arguments for the former. I was deeply affected by the piece, and think it’s a horrifying trip for anyone that wants to explore the depravity of humanity, but can see how it can feel like meaningless torture porn to some people. If I didn’t see the advertising/marketing for the movie that told me it was supposed to be an experience of death, I might have been frustrated, but I knew what I was getting into. This is not a movie for everyone, but I think people with a taste for it will find themselves haunted by this piece for sleepless nights to come.

That being said, I think the path to the journey could be heavily improved. I get wanting to be ambiguous and unnerving, but the lack of subtitles makes it almost impossible to make out certain bits of dialogue. It’s a strange complaint and I wouldn’t fault for you think it’s nitpicking, but the movie is hard enough to find and is all about the meaning created through the experience, so being able to know the words is important. I found myself more distracted by trying to parse what was happening, but ignoring the words and just being scared by their recitation didn’t work for me that well.

Report Card

TLDRFlesh of the Void is a movie for people that want to know what death as the ultimate horror would feel like. This piece is highly experimental and explores the most miserable depths of human existence, constantly bombarding the audience with unnerving noises and dialogue combined with surreal and disturbing imagery.
Rating9/10
Grade A

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