The Empty Man

6.12 h 16 min2020R
HD. An ex-cop suspects that a series of mysterious disappearances in a small Midwestern town may be linked to a supernatural entity.
David Prior
James Badge DaleMarin IrelandStephen Root
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Ron CanadaRobert AramayoJoel CourtneySasha Frolova
Ross RichieStephen Christy
Boom! Studios
R (Restricted)
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


3.9 out of 5 stars

3874 global ratings

  1. 45% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 21% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 19% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 7% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 8% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Jason A. NowakReviewed in the United States on February 4, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
The trailer does not do justice to this film
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The trailer makes it look like a 90 minute, teen horror flick where they are trying to summon The Empty Man, like the Bye-Bye Man, or Slenderman or Candyman. That is NOT what this film is about. It is far more complex than that - "The Empty Man" is a small part of a bigger picture.

Do not expect to have your hand held and have everything explained to you.
Do not expect to be scared out of your seat 30 times.
Do not expect to fully understand what's going on throughout the film or even after it's over.

Expect to be disturbed, as much of the film is unsettling - though you can't easily explain why
Expect to be bothered that you don't know exactly what's going on but just go along for the ride
Expect to watch the film again to better understand it and to catch things you missed the first time

Although I rented it on Prime and had another 30 days to watch it again, I immediately bought it as well. I have watched it multiple times and am blown away by the pieces I have put together and am thankful that director David Prior didn't over-explain everything.

I have been reading a lot of the negative reviews of the film and have seen complaints such as "too long," "too slow," "it's all over the place," and "It doesn't' make any sense." The movie IS long, 2 hours and 17 minutes. It is somewhat slow and yes, the director takes us to different scenes multiple times throughout the film. It is also very difficult to fully understand - because the content involves things that we are not supposed to understand. The film was marketed as another "man" horror movie as mentioned above and as such, reached the wrong audience. This film will eventually be viewed as a masterpiece of cosmic horror and we will have David Prior to thank for that.
61 people found this helpful
Alexander O. TeitzReviewed in the United States on January 30, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Jungian Horror Film
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I'm a fan of Cullen Bunn. His series Regression was one of the scariest comic series I've read. A Passage In Black, his collection of stories sticks out. I hadn't read The Empty Man comic before seeing the film.
I have to begin with the film's length. Normally a horror film fits in at 90 minutes. This one is over 2 hours. The prologue is nearly a half hour and one of the most terrifying aspects of the film.
James Badge Dale is James Lasombra, a former cop now working as a security store owner. He has an history with Nora Quail played by Marin Ireland. After Nora's daughter Amanda (Sasha Frolova) disappears, James decided to investigate. The police are no help and seem resigned against finding answers.
The Empty Man reminds me of Candyman, The Ring and Rosemary's Daughter. There is blood, deaths, a bizarre cult and more. It has a terror to it that can be quiet or loud.
The premise of the horror has Jungian roots. Saying anymore would be a spoiler. I enjoyed this film and will buy a DVD when available.
19 people found this helpful
Tim F. MartinReviewed in the United States on February 21, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Very well done P.I. procedural meets supernatural menace
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The Empty Man (2020), based on series of Boom! Studios graphic novels, the movie, originally filmed in 2017, acquired by Disney during the merger with Fox and quietly released October 2020. Starring James Badge Dale as ex-cop/private detective James Lasombra. James is asked by his female friend neighbor (Nora Quail, played by Marin Ireland) to look for her missing teen daughter Amanda (played by Sasha Frolova), her disappearance apparently connected to an urban legend called The Empty Man (who can be summoned by blowing into a bottle you find on a bridge and thinking about him, though as he will then kill you in 3 days this seems like a terrible game). The movie becomes for most of its run a detective procedural with supernatural elements as James goes down a rabbit hole involving missing teens, skeptical cops, and a powerful cult as he looks everywhere for her while people try to first throw him off the trail and later try to kill him (and he thinks there is a ghostly monster too).

But before all that there is basically a 15-minute mini movie about two couples hiking in the Himalayas (in Bhutan) back in 1995 (the rest of the movie is set in 2018) which appears at first to have nothing to do with the rest of the movie. It was cool, chilling, absorbing, and had a scary ending. Its connection is made clear at the end. It could have been a movie all its own, as I quickly got into the story (plus had some wonderful scenery, though soon the scenery fell by the wayside thanks to the horror).

I liked it. It wasn't a teen slasher/monster movie but for a few segments but for most of the movie it is really a detective thriller, though some of the teen slasher/monster movie elements at times almost felt like a different movie. Dark and serious, James did have a few everyman "you got to be kidding me" moments that were funny. Good production values and effects, loved the use of the Missouri setting for the 2018 portion (most of the movie), it is a bit long at over 2 hours though overall the pacing is good. There are a couple of scenes while cool could have been cut though I see why they were in the film.

Though owned now by Disney it is a dark horror film with several violent scenes. Also has a big twist ending though a twist I think that was earned. I didn’t entirely understand a few elements behind the horror but these weren’t issues until well after I finished the film. I liked the monster concept at the heart of the movie, the nature of the cult, and how it all tied together. This is a movie I might rewatch fairly soon as the ending has me rethinking the nature of several scenes early on in the film.
14 people found this helpful
J. WestReviewed in the United States on January 13, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
"Watch Out For Cults & False Prophets!"
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I thought it was very interesting and unique film. I admit, it was too long. They could've done some editing around the boring parts. But there are some scary parts that I jump more than a few times. To me that's a great horror\thriller film. Even the bible warns us about cults and false prophets. You have to watch this to understand it. But I recommend it if you like these type of films.
13 people found this helpful
OneTasteReviewed in the United States on May 17, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
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An irony is that so often the negative reviews are the ones that inspire me to watch a movie! Especially when the reasoning behind them is so petty! If my own mind had been less developed, I would have missed on what is a GENUINE MASTERPIECE! Now, please allow me to explain why:

Everything is connected, and this movie begins with a journey. The same current that draws us towards the movies to begin with, is it not? We want to be drawn away from our usual, normal, day to day patterns of life. It is simply our nature. We are wired to be drawn to adventure. I won't say too much because this movie is way too good to be spoiled for you.

Four friends set out on a journey to the beautiful Himalayan mountains. If you simply relax and let go and let the movie do what it is supposed to do, you are the fifth person in this adventure. Here, at these mountains, is where the beauty of the majestic scenery takes your breath away. You can almost feel the sting of the chilly air within your nostrils. But the music! The Sounds! Tibetan hums, amplify your experience so much! What you are witnessing isn't simply something that you can easily identify with, it is something that--if you are an adventurous person--you would LOVE to do! A new scenery, new surroundings, new culture, traditions, etc. But new also means unknown. Suddenly, something unexpected happens. The rational mind tries to make sense of it, but it can't. Yet, you sense that it will be unraveled if you just continue to move forward on this journey. What happened is something that changes everything. It is so odd, so different, so unexpected, that it grips you. This reminded me a little bit of the emotions that I experienced when watching, The Happening. This chunk, with these five people (including you) is the one that one reviewer described as a mini-movie all on its own.

One reviewer also said that this movie may not make sense to many, that it could be construed as being all over the place. But the truth is that the premise is always underlying everything that happens. The Hollow Man is always the thread that links everything that goes on. It certainly makes sense. Sometimes the mind can ball itself up into a very tight fist. You just have to let go, relax, and let the hand/mind open up.

This movie is for people who love eerie psychological thrillers. Yet this one has many more potent ingredients that render it a true Masterpiece. It has a bit of horror sprinkled into it, suspense, mystery. Some parts, the way the music was masterfully injected into the background, at the perfect times, when certain things were happening, reminded me of the emotions produced by Hereditary and Midsommar. If movie-making could be analogized to food preparation, the master chefs of these movies have a true love/passion for their craft. It's just obvious in how good these movies truly are.

I don't want to tell you what movies the ending reminded me of, because I think that I would be spoiling this one for you. And I don't want to do that.

For me, this movie was a mixture of so many things! It was a Zen Koan dressed up in a monster costume. It reached the philosophical depths that The Matrix had, but through a different trail (horror genre). I can totally see a Tibetan monk, watching this movie, smiling from ear to ear as he realizes the deep, powerful, clear symbolism encoded in this film. The false self (ego) being, ultimately, an illusion. Man being, ultimately, an EMPTY vessel (an empty man). The ego (the false self, with a lowercase "s") being its own worst enemy. The power of our emotions (sorrow, fear, doubt, anguish) to pull us into Lilla (illusion) and how our mind can entangle itself there. How ultimately, the ego commits a type of suicide as it surrenders and melts into Self (with a capital letter "S").

I've now learned that when a reviewer renders a film like this one, "too slow," he or she is really exposing a mind that is "too slow" to appreciate something so masterfully created, true art, a genuine adventure! Everything about this movie was PERFECT! In fact, I can't wait to watch it again!

I highly recommend this film to my more evolved brothers and sisters out there! Enjoy!
10 people found this helpful
Shifty BatReviewed in the United States on January 28, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Quite well done if you aren't looking at your phone half the time
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Many people seem to be confused about the premise and direction of this film, and I think a lot of flak comes from them missing important details. I found it to be a slow-burn as most did, but also cohesive, and even elegant. Don't go into it expecting big Hollywood jump-scares. This is a long and rather thoughtful movie.
13 people found this helpful
M. ArianiReviewed in the United States on March 6, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Intelligent adult horror movie and Not a teen movie
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Let me start by stating that this is not a teen-based horror movie. Although there are teenagers in the movie, the way they have cut the trailer it gives you that impression. The title of the movie also gives the impression of B movie production and story. It’s far from that.

The core of the story centers on cosmic horror and ancient Gods. This is not a jump scare movie and relies on slow and steady burn. Cinemaphotography is beautifully and the soundtrack is rich and elegant. The story is complex and requires viewer's patient to be rewarded. Marin Ireland performance is exceptional here. This is quite an impressive and very unique film. Highly recommended
10 people found this helpful
Eric MichaelReviewed in the United States on March 29, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Watched because of Chris Stuckmann
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I never saw more than a brief poster of this movie on IMDb last year. That's it. I never saw a trailer or heard anything about it. Luckily, Chris Stuckmann had friends looking out for him that recommended this movie and as a result he recommended to his viewers. I normally trust his judgment and decided to risk the rental fee for a movie I knew nothing about. This is the weirdest movie I've seen in a long time and I mean that in a super positive way. It's phenomenally shot, well acted, well written, and the EDITING?! Immaculate.

NOW. I must put a disclaimer in this review. This movie will most definitely not be for everyone. Just like how The Blackcoat's Daughter and Hereditary are not for everyone. If both of those movies are films you greatly enjoyed viewing, click that rental button RIGHT NOW! If you didn't like either of those movies, skip this.

This movie believes and trusts its audience to be able to figure it out as it goes along. Never takes the audience for granted. There are some scary sequences here and there but it's mostly going to be the tension and atmosphere. I personally recommend this film to those who love A24 movies.
9 people found this helpful
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