I’ll first give you some general, non-spoiler-filled thoughts. Then I’ll move into a spoiler-filled section where we can discuss some of the finer points of the film.
The film was released in 2020, and somehow, I missed it. I’m guessing it got lost in the pandemic craziness or something similar. The film was directed by David Prior and starred many folks I wasn’t familiar with other than Stephen Root, who has a very small part in the movie. However, everyone did a great job acting, and I have to say the production quality of this movie was excellent.
The official synopsis is:
On the trail of a missing girl, an ex-cop comes across a secretive group attempting to summon a terrifying supernatural entity.
Overall, The Empty Man is a good flick. I love the cosmic horror aspect of it and even some revelations (more on that in the spoiler section). However, I think the film is a bit long, plus it is misleading with what the trailer portrays the movie to be with what it ends up being. In other words, the film has a bit of identity crisis and leaves a lot of questions at the end. For that reason, I give this movie a 4/5 instead of 5/5.
Now, for the spoilers. Leave now if you don’t want to know.
So, during Lasombra’s investigation, he ends up finding not only did the neighbor-girl go missing but all of her friends as well. All of the friends he can investigate has ties to a place called the Pontifex Institute. When Lasombra shows up there, he finds the institute is basically a cult trying to communicate with entities from other dimensions, one of which is the Empty Man. He also discovers the institute believes they can summon or manifest things into reality by concentrating hard enough. These manifestations are called, Tulpas. (Some believe Tulpas are real…you can look it up if you like).
During his investigation, we get more of the cosmic horror angle coming from his discoveries. He eventually ends up at a hospital where there is a man in a vegetative state. Members of the institute “worship” this comatose man, and Lasombra finds out the man has been in a coma for 23 years and moved around from facility to facility. Of course, this man is the hiker from Bhutan.
Lasombra eventually finds the missing neighbor girl with the man in the hospital. She reveals that Lasombra is a Tulpa, created three days ago to be a vessel for the Empty Man since the hiker’s body is falling to the strain of holding the Empty Man now. Of course, Lasombra thinks it’s bullshit, but the girl can tell him all the essential details of his past, and when he calls the girl’s mother, she acts like she’s never heard of Lasombra. Lasombra returns home and finds it is empty, void of all belongings and furniture.
Now going off the deep end, Lasombra gets a gun and heads back to the institute. While there, he runs into the Empty Man, who basically enters Lasombra’s body. During this scene, the Empty Man takes on a different form from what we’ve seen so far. He looks surprisingly a lot like H.P. Lovecraft’s Nyarlathotep, which I found was a neat nod.
So… my biggest issue with the film is at this point. If Lasombra is a Tulpa like neighbor girl says, how do we see him interacting with the mom in earlier scenes? How do we see him living in his home full of his possessions? What about his place of work? Were all of those hallucinations? It doesn’t make sense to me. But, that being said, it was still a good movie, and I enjoyed it.