The Empty Man

Viewed – 10 April 2021 online rental

A group of back packers in the Tibetan mountains stumble (literally) upon an ancient skeleton in a cave that doesn’t look human, and unwittingly unleash a terrible spirit. Years later an ex-cop (James Badge Dale) investigates the disappearance of a young woman, which may be linked to local urban myth ‘the empty man’.

On paper this could read like any other boogie man horror, reminiscent of The Bye Bye Man or even Candyman. However first time director David Prior’s movie is far more layered and interesting than that. Whilst it delivers the expected horror tropes, superstition, religious cults and a creepy mystery – it’s how it’s delivered that makes this one stand on its own. Prior was schooled in directing by the likes of David Fincher and it’s clearly paid off. This is a very atmospheric and well made horror movie, full of eye catching camera work and meticulous editing that delivered several unnerving images and sequences (that freaky bonfire scene). It’s a movie I’m sure also rewards repeat viewing with how it subtly sign posts an eventual twist by weaving hints and linked imagery throughout.

Its the kind of movie that doesn’t deliver all the answers, and I found the ending a bit ‘out there’ … but otherwise this was a slick, and occasionally really unsettling experience. At 2 hours 17 minutes it’s long for the average horror but this never dragged, and pulled me in quickly, and didn’t loosen its grip until the credits rolled. One to watch.

Verdict: Recommended

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