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Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'The Empty Man' (2020)

My idea had an idea...

By Reed AlexanderPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
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There was no fucking reason for this movie to be two fucking hours long. They could easily cut thirty minutes and make it the standard hour and a half. The movie was honestly kinda boring because of the pacing. Don't get me wrong, it's fascinating. The plot asks, "What if an idea could be infectious?" It's obviously more complicated than that and revolves around things like urban legends, but it's a neat general concept for the plot. It's about manifesting something by enough people believing in it, which is known as a Tulpa or 'thought form.'

It's pretty neat how it gets created. The first group of the movie encounters this alien corps that seems to start the 'infection.' They are then the first to act out what will be the urban legend of The Empty Man. It's kinda like that episode of Supernatural, Season 1, Episode 17: 'Hell Hous.' The one where some kids accidentally create a Tulpa of a killer ghost from an urban legend they made up. I mean, if you think about it, our collective belief in urban legends almost makes them real. Real enough where two teenagers in real life actually sacrificed a friend of theirs to The Slenderman. I mean, how many people have claimed to have seen The Hat Man? Like I said in my review of Butterfly Kisses (2019), these things can feel real. Eric Christopher Myers (R.I.P.) really made a believable urban legend. Enough where I can see future generations trying to summon Mr. Blinky.

Now, I'm still gonna recommend this movie, even though it was slow. The cinematography was fucking brilliant. It really is just a beautiful movie. The sets are great, the lighting is perfect, the filters are perfect; they did everything right. If they did a little stylization with it it could have been like The Lighthouse (2019) where every frame is a work of art. If they'd shot this movie like A Scanner Darkly (2006) it would have made perfect sense and really given this movie an extra little something. But otherwise, it was really superb even without that. It didn't NEED anything else, I just think it would have been cool.

The acting was also fantastic. It was stylized to match the tone, so it could have easily come off as hammy, but it didn't. The despondent tone most of the actors really connects with the mood of the movie, and I just wanna stress how fucking hard that is to do. It's so hard to pull off, the movie that set the standard for tone was Susperia (1977), and they basically did it by accident, because it was originally in Italian and the dubbing is what made the dialogue so esoteric.

So, cool plot, fantastic cinematography, great acting; the pace notwithstanding, it's a damn good movie. I won't consider this a must-watch, but if you like seriously esoteric horror, definitely watch this.

SPOILERS!!!

The twist at the end kinda takes away from the plot. This cult basically wants to create a living antenna to spread the idea of The Empty Man. So The Empty Man isn't just a Tulpa, the main character is a Tulpa. The cult literally imagined him into being so they'd have a stronger focal point to spread the idea of The Empty Man. A Tulpa to spread a Tulpa. Soooooooo, that's cool and all, but it was wholey unnecessary and makes the plot a little silly. Now that the 'infection' was spreading, why did they need a new host? I feel like this is part of what adds all the unnecessary scenes and makes the movie too long and a little boring.

I mean, don't get me wrong, even with how unnecessarily long it is, even with the silly ending, it's still good, I do want you to watch this, but it was a disappointment for me personally. In the horror scene, people have really been talking this movie up and my expectations might have just been too high.

Still, do watch this.

urban legendsupernaturalpsychologicalmovie review
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About the Creator

Reed Alexander

I'm a horror author and foulmouthed critic of all things horror. New reviews posted every Monday.

@ReedsHorror on TikTok, Threads, Instagram, YouTube, and Mastodon.

Check out my books on Godless: https://godless.com/products/reed-alexander

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