Welcome to another Malevolent Dark independent horror movie review. Looking for inspiration, I reached out to the Malevolent Dark Twitter family and asked for some recommendations for reviews. A fellow horror colleague of mine named G.G. Graveyards suggested we take a look at Flesh of the Void (2017). G.G. mentioned that he was on the fence over the movie, so it felt like a great opportunity to get another voice in the room. For those that don’t know, G.G. is a writer and creative force who often focuses on the darker side of reality. I highly recommend his work.
Flesh of the Void is an art film produced by a studio called Sodom and Chimera. James Quinn directs the film. According to their promotional site, the studio describes the film as:
Flesh of the Void is a terribly disturbing experimental horror feature visualizing what it could feel like if death truly were the most horrible thing one could ever experience. Shot entirely on Super 8 and 16mm, it is intended as a trip through the deepest fears of human beings, exploring its subject in a highly grotesque, violent and extreme manner.
Flesh of the Void – A Twisting Tale Through Hell
Flesh of the Void does not pretend to present a linear narrative. In fact, there is really no narrative at all. Instead, Flesh of the Void presents a series of vignettes that are roughly categorized into Preludes, Acts and Interludes. For the most part, no unifying thread pulls all the pieces together other than each presents an emotionally distressing view into darkness. James Quinn shoots most of the film in black and white. Depending on the vignette, the feel of the video switches from very old and distressed film from a shaky handheld camera to more visually concise pieces later in the film.
A Psychological Descent into Madness
This film has no character dialog, but at various point during the film wisps of poetry and disembodied prose floats over the visuals. Some of the more disconcerting scenes feature the muffled cries of children being abused. The cries of “PLEASE”, and “PLEASE STOP” echo from the other side of a dark window. Repulsively, themes of sexual violence towards children make multiple refrains throughout the film.
I am lying in my bed, I can’t move
I can’t open my eyes
Everything is pitch black
I can see
I can see with my eyes closed
Everything is hidden
But Wait, something is wrong
There is something in the room…
A Tapestry With Too Many Threads
One of the biggest challenges facing James Quinn concerns the size of his endeavor. Undoubtedly, Flesh of the Void offers an abrasive, yet artistic vision. James Quinn takes the audience on a journey through very interesting terrain. It feels overly indulgent at times. At about 26 minutes in, the sheer weight of the production begins to feel oppressive as the viewer casually keeps one eye on the progress bar. Around that same point, the films begins to run out of ideas. Quinn attempts to up the ante by dialing up the antagonism, but the results increasingly feel less artistic and needlessly perverse.
Sometimes Implicit is Better
At the 30 minute mark, the film shifts from very grainy and visually ambiguous imagery to a more stable view. At this point, James Quinn subjects the audience to the rape of a hooded woman in the woods. James Quinn punctuates the scene by having the rapist finish himself off for the camera. The scene did not feel compelling, nor artistic. I simply felt like pornographic filler designed only to offend. Quinn follows with several similarly themed scenes that go on far longer than comfortable. Assuredly, the director intended this; however, these tactics fail to deliver the intended impact.
An Intersection of Styles
Flesh of the Void evokes many images found in other mediums. At times it feels like a 76 minute Throbbing Gristle visualization. At other times, it feels like an eternity combing the sub-Reddit, fearme in a damp and dark room. Flesh of the Void offers a real-world glimpse into the legendary deep-web video game “Sad Satan“, a depressing descent into the darkness of the perverse. In a long and drawn out scene involving the abuse of an amputee, visions of Normal Porn for Normal People come to the forefront of the mind. If one cobbles these pieces together by loosely coupling them with intermittent title cards, one gets a good gauge of what to expect of this film.
The Conclusion is Inconclusive
Much like G.G., we feel a bit torn about this film at Malevolent Dark. Flesh of the Void clearly offers something interesting for those that want their sensibilities pushed to the limits. Possibly, this film performs better as background noise rather than the focus of attention. While visually impressive and obviously artistic, the film gets a bit long in the tooth at about 45 minutes. Stripped of its excess weight, Flesh of the Void could be a very impactful as a shorter independent horror film. Less is more. One thing is for certain, Flesh of the Void is not for everyone, and might not even be for the average horror fan.
Independent Horror – Art is in the Eye of the Beholder
Overall, Malevolent Dark believes that this film deserves to be seen by those that fancy a mind-bending descent into madness. The film manages a few incredibly impactful scenes. Unfortunately they spread thin over the long runtime of the film. It also portrays a few repulsive scenes so clearly intended to offend that they feel somewhat contrived. Overall, the time invested does not feel wasted, but its potential for repeat viewings feels tenuous at best.
Flesh of the Void – The final Readout
Scoring this film proved difficult because its overall appeal largely depends on a very small contingent of independent horror fans thirsting for this type of film. However, that group yearns for content like Flesh of the Void and often struggles to find it. These individuals may value this film much more than this score suggests. All in all, James Quinn directed an interesting film that fulfills its obligation to horror film fans. At Malevolent Dark, we continue to appreciate and promote independent horror, and so should you.
Flesh of the Void can be found at Vimeo. It is currently priced at $5.99.
Flesh of the Void (2017) - Extreme Arthouse Horror - Malevolent Dark
Director: James Quinn
Date Created: 2017-01-01 03:00