2020 / 137m - USA
Horror, Mystery
The Empty Man poster


July 24, 2021


A decent horror flick, but director Prior overplays his hand. He starts the film off nice enough, but after a superb introduction, there are too many ill-considered genre twists. The film quickly turns into a detective story and tilts to cult nonsense later on, all the while burying the horror deeper and deeper. Prior clearly lacked a critical editor, someone who could've cut out a good 30 minutes.

James is an ex-cop who receives a phone call from his distressed neighbor. Her daughter just ran away from home, but an ominous message written in blood suggests there's something darker going on here. James promises to investigate her disappearance on his own and quickly stumbles upon a local legend passed down around school.

The intro is pretty creepy, the monster design is stunning, and the setting is impressive. But then the film switches back to a US setting and a more dire story starts. There's too much focus on (poorly executed) drama and even though Prior's story is ambitious, the mystery itself feels rather bland, taking away from the horror. There's clearly potential here, but the film itself is a bit too muddled to make a real impression.