Let’s Know all About The Empty Man

The path a film takes from conception to audience can have an influence on expectations. Let’s just say the number of excellent films that lingered on the shelf for years before being thrown into cinemas with little to no advertising and no critics screenings is exceedingly limited.

The Empty Man was published in October of 2020, but HBO Max only recently broadcast it. The Empty Man follows an ex-cop (James Badge Dale) as he uncovers a deadly cult linked to the deaths of many youths and the abduction of a little child in filmmaker David Prior’s feature film debut. The narrative blends a number of horror subgenres and is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Cullen Bunn and Vanesa R. Del Rey.

On the one hand, The Empty Man is a boogeyman storey in which a group of teens believe in an urban legend and summon the titular Empty Man, who proceeds to influence the youths into making dangerous decisions. The film, on the other hand, is evocative of Ari Aster’s works Hereditary and Midsommar, in which cults are the main adversaries.

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What’s There in the Movie?

In 1995, four friends — Greg, Fiona, Ruthie, and Paul — go mountain trekking in the Ura Valley, Bhutan. Paul hears a peculiar whistle appealing to him and investigates, falling into a fissure. Greg discovers Paul on his knees, practically catatonic, sobbing and shivering, looking at a large and bizarre alien skeleton buried in the cave wall. Before Greg can touch Paul, he warns him that if he does, he will perish. Greg hesitates for a while before grabbing Paul and dragging him out of the fissure to the others.

As a snowstorm approaches, the gang pulls Paul out and Greg takes him to a safe haven at an empty house. Greg, Fiona, and Ruthie debate whether or not Paul is lying. He suffers from depression and has attempted suicide in the past.

Ruthie is trailed by a strange person outdoors the next day, who is the ghost of the beast in the cave. Paul, who is progressively becoming possessed by the evil spirit, whispers something into Ruthie’s ear that night. Paul goes missing the next day. He’s discovered in the snow near the bridge they just crossed. Ruthie becomes dizzy before murdering Greg and slicing Fiona’s throats before hurling their bodies down the cliff. She exchanges an enthralled gaze with Paul before falling off herself.

Former detective James Lasombra works at a security company in Missouri in 2018 and is mourning the loss of his wife Allison and their kid Henry in a vehicle accident a year ago. He is acquainted with Nora, a local woman, and the two are concerned when Nora’s daughter Amanda appears to run away. In the restroom, they discover a note scribbled in blood that reads, “The Empty Man made me do it.” An investigation is launched by the police.

At school, James hunts down Amanda’s friend Devara and interrogates her. Devara says that Amanda urged Devara, Amanda’s pals Brandon, Lisa, Julianne, Meyer, and Duncan to call the Empty Man, a local legend, a few nights earlier. Amanda predicts that they will hear The Empty Man on the first day, see him on the second day, and find him on the third day.

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How The Empty Man ended?

Leaving aside the double-talk of tulpas, bridges, and Jacques Derrida, The Empty Man’s conclusion is very straightforward—at least in terms of addressing the core enigma. After a tense run-in with Arthur Parsons (Stephen Root), the chatty leader of the Scientology-esque Pontifex Institute, and a search for Amanda (Sasha Frolova), the teenage daughter of his close friend Nora (Marin Ireland), James, growing increasingly detached from reality, learns that Pontifex cult members are visiting a hospital to receive messages from a patient. When he arrives at the hospital, he realises that the patient is none other than Paul, the possessed hiker at the start of the movie.

James ambushes cult member Garrett and asks him what’s going on since he’s having more hallucinations. Garrett reports that The Empty Man is broadcasting to the cult via a man in the hospital. James goes to the hospital and learns that the guy is actually Paul, who is unconscious and is visited by cult members on a daily basis to get messages from the ghost.

the empty man

He meets Amanda in Paul’s hospital room, where she informs him that Paul is dying from the stress of being the Empty Man, and that the cult is in desperate need of a new vessel. She informs James that he is a tulpa, a fresh vessel for the being, and that all of his memories and connections were made up by her and the cult in order to maintain the deity’s connection through his suffering and grief. James, according to Amanda, has only been alive for a few days. James phones Nora in shock, but she doesn’t answer.

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Is There Something Special?

On February 9, 2016, it was revealed that 20th Century Fox has bought the rights to Boom! Studios’ comic novel The Empty Man for a feature picture, with David Prior set to write and direct the film. Ross Richie and Stephen Christy will produce the eerie thriller.

On July 7, 2016, James Badge Dale was cast in the starring role as an ex-cop who seeks to discover a missing girl while dealing with the brutal murders of his wife and son. Aaron Poole, who will portray Paul, an adventurous explorer, was cast in the film on September 27, 2016.  The final film to feature the original 20th Century Fox logo was The Empty Man.

The majority of the principle photography took place in late 2016 in South Africa. Due of unfavourable weather circumstances, manufacturing was suspended during the last week. During this period, Mark Roybal, Fox’s senior vice president of production, left the company. Roybal was “crucial” to the film’s greenlighting, according to director David Prior. Once a new executive was appointed, production continued.

Prior estimated that around $11 million of the $16 million budget was spent on the shoot. In September 2017, the last week of shooting continued in Edwardsville, Illinois, including some filming at the Madison County courthouse. Filming took place at the Chain of Rocks Bridge for three days before moving to an undisclosed site.

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Wrapping Up

The Empty Man made $4.2 million worldwide, including $3 million in the United States and Canada and $1.2 million in other markets. In its debut weekend, the picture earned $1.3 million from 2,027 theatres, placing it fourth at the box office. Males made up 53% of the crowd, while 53% of the audience was over the age of 25.

Analysts attributed the film’s poor box office performance on a lack of promotion, with RelishMix, a social media analytics company, saying: “On October 16, the social campaign for 20th Century Fox’s The Empty Man debuted. Any typical campaign for an indie, one-off high concept, or awards contender will, at the very least, be two months old.” The picture grossed $561,000 in its second weekend, then $294,350 in its third weekend.

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