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 frightful creature that takes three days to claim its victims. Both the cult and the creature soon lead Lasombra to uncover 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 began 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 scene and tune that followed was a little, off, but there was still a vague sort of of Ju-On feel. I thought the show would eventually morph into an intricate web of related horrors, 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 nearly entire drained of suspense and inflated with verbose existential rants. Worse, there was also marked indecision over what horror direction to embrace. Throughout the “investigations,” I kept wondering whether the movie is about killer 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 understand cosmic conspiracies.
That said, to sit through two hours of a show 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 if the crew entirely forgot. Or after all those bombastic rants, they decided the protracted prologue was no longer important.