The Empty Man transmits! But it/he is really hard to receive!!! (Gasp)
The Empty Man Synopsis
After a friend’s teenage daughter goes missing, retired cop James Lasombra investigates and quickly discovers the existence of a mysterious doomsday cult. He also learns of the urban myth of The Empty Man, a terrifying creature that takes three days to claim victims. Both the cult and the creature soon lead Lasombra to a horrific truth.
If you’re wondering, the hysterical one-liner above is my twist on a horror quote from the movie. One that so aptly describes this David Prior movie.
Very simply, this supernatural thriller starts on a highly unusual but captivating footing, then tumbles, agonizingly, into the copied, the bewildering, and the dreary.
The, err, 20-minute opening movie of hikers lost in Bhutanese wilderness started the show on a gripping and intense note, one that immediately earned several thumbs-up from me. (As in what I’d be putting into my visual summary) The abrupt change of scenery and tune that followed was a little off, but there was still a vague sort of of Ju-On feel. Briefly, I thought the show would soon morph into an intricate web of related horror tales centered on the eponymous villain.
Yikes, alas, sigh, it was not the case at all. Once the main mystery was established, the movie sank into a somnambulistic, Alan Wake wannabe trudge, one that’s near entirely drained of suspense and inflated with verbose existential rants.
Worse, there was also marked indecision over which horror direction to embrace. Throughout the “investigations,” I kept wondering which direction the horror is flowing towards. Is it sinister urban myths the likes of The Ring, occult horror such as Rosemary’s Baby, or raw psychological trauma ala The Machinist?
And then there’s the titular monster, i.e., the Empty Man. EMPTY, as in it’s never made clear just what the bonkers it is, or what it wants.
Now, I’m a Lovecraft lover. I do not expect villains to be clear-cut good or evil. I can even take it if a story tells me that the mere mortal I am, I will never comprehend cosmic existence.
That said, to sit through two hours of a horror movie and still not be shown a clue of what the villain is, that’s way over the edge. Have I mentioned too that the, err, beginning movie was ultimately never explained? It was almost as if the crew forgot.
Or maybe after all those bombastic rants, the show decided that the protracted prologue was no longer important. No longer part of the story.