Movie Reviews

‘The Empty Man’ (2020) Movie Review: A Half-Empty ‘Wicker Man’ Knock-off

The Empty Man is the latest in a line of Candyman rip-off’s (Candyman himself being reminiscent of one Frederick Krueger), a supernatural slasher who subconsciously stalks and kills his victims. Despite its similarly stupid title, The Empty Man is a slight cut above such irredeemable disasters as The Bye Bye Man (2017) and Slender Man (2018).

When a teen girl seemingly vanishes from her sleepy Missouri town, a former cop by the name of James Lasombra (James Badge Dale) goes looking for her. The investigation eventually takes a sinister turn once the detective uncovers connections between the girl’s disappearance, a secret society and an otherworldly being referred to as the Empty Man.

If you’ve a passing familiarity with any of the killers mentioned earlier, then you already know how the Empty Man operates. Perform some ritual at some specified location whilst speaking the name of or even thinking about said entity and you’ll become his next target. What fun!

Based on the Boom! Studios graphic novel of the same name by Cullen Bunn, The Empty Man occasionally manifests flashes of inspiration as well as genuine dread. One scene in particular involving a hoard of zombie-like cultists huddled around a bonfire chilled me to the bone. At an overly long 130 minute run time, however, these moments are few and very far between. Too much of the film plays out like a greatest hits compilation of the supernatural slasher sub-genre: some doubtful inquisitor investigates a local urban legend while being stalked by spooky sights and sounds that may or may not be real. It’s been done many times before and with characters far more fleshed out than anyone in this movie.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

20th Century Fox presents a film written and directed by David Prior. Starring James Badge Dale, Marin Ireland, Sasha Frolova, and Stephen Root. Rated R (for language, disturbing images, some sexuality and nudity, violence). Running time: 130 minutes. Opens wide Friday (October 22, 2020).


Those are my thoughts on The Empty Man. Have you had a chance to check the film out? Perhaps you’re waiting till the film hits streaming? If at all. Either way, hit up the comments section below and let me and the rest of the movie loving world know your thoughts on the film!

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