The Empty Man

The Empty Man ★★★½

An idiosyncratic slow burn of a horror procedural, its comic book origins combine with David Prior's austere style to create something that simultaneously feels familiar and unique. You can see Twin Peaks, Eyes Wide Shut, and just about the whole Fincher oeuvre its DNA, yet the way it deals in cosmic dread patiently and methodically made manifest is rarely predictable. I imagine it's a film that's going to reward rewatches; certain aspects that initially play like weaknesses, such as fairly rudimentary character development, prove to be entirely intentional once you see the full picture. The Empty Man is becoming a cult classic for a reason, but I'll always wonder how it might've fared with the public if the pandemic and a nearly-nonexistent marketing campaign hadn't hobbled its visibility. It seems like a perfect middle ground between A24 horror and Blumhouse horror, heady and weird in certain respects but totally accessible on the level of things that go bump in the night.

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