Film Reviews

The Empty Man Review: A Sweet Film With A Sour Ending

The Empty Man Is The Cinematic Equivalent Of An Unfinished Roller Coaster Tycoon

In January 2017, one of the worst films I’ve ever reviewed called ‘The Bye Bye Man’ was released. A spectacular disaster in filmmaking made it memorable on the sole basis of how terrible it was. A demonic entity finds and kills any person who says his name, hell even if you just listen to someone say his name, he will still kill you. A film so dumb deserves to get buried in the cinematic graveyard. 

With 20th Century Fox coming out with a new horror film called “The Empty Man” with a similar concept, the PTSD of bad horror movies settles in like a war veteran waiting for his popcorn to finish. Fourtnely, The Empty Man is a superior film in every possible way, but that doesn’t make it ‘great’. 

The Empty Man is a film about a group of small-town teens who invoke the urban legend of the Empty Man. If you repeat the name of the legend on a bridge, in 3 days he will appear for you. So when several teens go missing and begin to die in horrific suicides, it is up to a retired cop (James Badge Dale) to investigate but in his infestation, he discovers a secretive cult that may be directly responsible for conjuring up the mystical entity putting the entire town in danger.

Empty Man is a classic tale of solid set up but poor finish in a film. Despite the introduction of a pseudo boogeyman character, the cult angle created an interesting conflict that keeps the audience wondering if what they are seeing is paranormal, psychological, or a combination of the two. What you end up getting is a series of red herrings and a cinematic ending which is the equivalent of a false finish. A bus ride can be enjoyable for 2 hours but if it crashes into a ditch in the last 20 minutes, no one is going to walk away remembering the scenery. 

The Empty Man flirts with being a solid B film, there are some editing issues such as sound and cutting down on its runtime which would have improved the film’s quality. A film that doesn’t lack ambition simply doesn’t live up to its potential. 


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