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The Canadian horror movie "The Void" provides effective scares by giddily throwing every trope into the mix.

The writing-directing team of Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski take an "everything and the kitchen sink" approach to the genre, as they send their motley collection of blood-splattered characters through a maze of dimly lit corridors, occult symbolism, tentacled beasties, and enough blood and viscera to float a canoe.

Sheriff's Deputy Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) sees a young man stumbling out of the forest, bloodied and panicky. Carter takes the guy, James (Evan Stern), to the nearest emergency room, at a fire-damaged, soon-to-be-abandoned hospital. The nurse overseeing the ER there is Allison (Kathleen Munroe), Carter's estranged wife.

Carter gets James to the hospital, followed by a gunman, Vincent (Daniel Fathers), and his mute son, Simon (Mik Byskov), who are trying to kill James. Hordes of white-hooded figures surround the building, wielding hunting knives against anyone who ventures outside. And a kindly nurse, Beverly (Stephanie Belding), out of nowhere starts stabbing another patient through the eyeball.

Then things start getting weird.

It's up to Carter to enlist Vincent's help to save everyone in the hospital's waiting room — including a pregnant woman, Maggie (Grace Munro), a skittish intern (Ellen Wong), a state trooper (Art Hindle), and the wise old Dr. Powell (played by the veteran character actor Kenneth Welsh) — and unravel the mystery in the hospital's basement.

Gillespie, an art director, and Kostanski, a makeup effects artist, employ a lot of in-camera creature effects that are really gross and exceedingly cool. By putting the monsters literally in the room with the actors, the blood-drenched mayhem has an immediate, you-are-there feel that computer-made effects can't match.

The mythological aspects of "The Void" don't always mesh neatly with the monster-movie scares. But, in the moment, it will scare you silly — which is really all that matters with a good horror movie.

Twitter: @moviecricket —


'The Void'

A low-budget horror movie with a little bit of everything: bloody monsters, cult followers, and scared characters trying to figure it all out.

Where • Tower Theatre.

When • Opens Friday, April 7.

Rating • Not rated, but probably R for copious gore, violence, language and sexual references.

Running time • 90 minutes.