I had put off watching The Empty Man mostly because I forgot about it. When it came out originally, I saw plenty of people talking about it but after a few months everyone stopped even mentioning it just as quickly as they had started. I think that’s a shame because I found it to be a compelling movie with some amazing shots. I learned that it was based on a graphic novel from Boom! Studios as the credits started, which was a surprise to me.
David Prior did a great job of adapting the graphic novel by Cullen Bunn and Vanesa R. Del Rey. While I haven’t read the graphic novel, I’m guessing that it was as faithful as it could be while still being a compelling film. With this being Prior’s directorial debut, I have high hopes for his continued career, even if The Empty Man wasn’t well received initially.
I believe that this was the first lead role that I’ve ever seen James Badge Dale in, which is a shame because he knocks it out of the park. If he hadn’t been able to be such a compelling lead, I wouldn’t have found myself drawn into the story. Outside of the cold open of the movie, which worked as a short film on its own, he carries the movie. Marin Ireland, Stephen Root, Ron Canada, Robert Aramayo, Joel Courtney, and Sasha Frovola are amazing in their roles as well. Everyone makes the most of their roles and knocks it out of the park.
The practical effects are amazing. The cave skeleton from the opening is one of the most striking things I’ve seen in some time. The visual effects are just as striking. The titular entity is made even creepier by the cinematography. The cinematography made some of the shots look like it was taken straight from a graphic novel. The music by Christopher Young Lustmord is outstanding. The score adds even more to the already unsettling atmosphere.
The Empty Man is a fantastic horror movie that happens to be based on a horror graphic novel. Now that I know that it was based on a graphic novel, I will have to read it so I can see how close the movie was to the graphic novel. I also have like Boom! Studios has some of the best horror comics as part of their library. The Empty Man is leaving HBO Max at the end of September, and it isn’t available on physical media, which will make it even harder to see once it leaves the service. That’s a travesty because it deserves to be seen by as many people as will watch it. I give The Empty Man 9.5 empty glass bottles out of 10.