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Film Review: Empty (2011)

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A suspenseful drama about a young couple on a road trip who get caught in the midst of a worldwide gas shortage.


Piper (Ashley C. Williams) and Dell (Jon Carlo), are just returning from a 6 day vacation. While the thought of being off the grid and living on the land sounds exciting, the reality of what has transpired while they were away soon becomes a cold reality that they will have to adjust to rather quickly. The world has gone into a gas crisis resulting is a total breakdown in the way of life they were used to. Stores have closed due to workers not being able to travel, looting is on the uprise and folks are becoming desperate with the supply and demand suddenly skyrocketing. The 2 of them are enjoying their relationship with a few quirks that still need to be ironed out. Piper comes from a wealthy family, while Dell is constantly under the pressure of trying to live up to the their standards. The conflict has been a sour point for them, though they still have each other which is all that seems to matter up till now.

On their last tank of gas, it is apparent that they are not going to make it back home and soon find themselves having to stay at Piper’s father’s summer home for shelter. The ordeal has everyone stressed out including their troubled relationship. Along with the journey of trying to decide the next move they have to deal with looters, those taking advantage of the situation and the constant threat of the world around them. Chaos has indeed begun to flourish.

Piper is at her wits end, while Dell seems to be in somewhat of denial with the state of things. As they use the remaining bars of their cell phones, Piper seeks aid from her father despite Dell’s feelings about her family.

On a performance level, Ashley C. Williams does a great job mirroring just about every female’s reaction to the implied situations. The character Dell, on the other hand, comes across mostly annoying and contradicting thru the transition. While proclaiming independence in one conversation, Dell often does the opposite between wining and his slow coming to terms with what has to be done. We get his sense of showing machosim but it sometimes falls flat with ridiculous intentions and actions on his part. Together they work as a flawed team under the stress trying to cope and flesh out their relationship issues.

Empty” works on a simple level that really hits home with in today’s reality. While we haven’t reached the state that the film alludes to, the idea of it is more applicable in today’s state of things than ever before. “Empty” works upon its own paranoia and very little else in making it work for a feature film. Just the idea and the visuals of empty roads and solemn locations is enough to suspend disbelief for the story at hand. “Empty” is a horror film of a different nature that caters to our fear of things to come. In some respects it stands as a warning sign and a red flag in preparation for the worst. Seated in science fiction, the fiction is “only” fiction in its potential. The fears, concerns, and actions of the couple stand as a great example of where many of us might find ourselves in a similar situation. I believe much of this concern elates the film into a touchy area for most these days.

Several films in the last few years have taken this avenue including movies like “The Road” and “Hell“. Each centers on a “like” premise that simply says in bold letters, that humanity is only controlled until that control is snatched away. Director / writer C.S. Drury gives us “Empty as his debut into feature films. The movie is a great example of a micro budget release done well. It even ends on a shocking note that gives you something to ponder while the credits role. “Empty” provides suspense, direction and premise that while not perfect was still entertaining and concerning all rolled din one.

Empty (2011)

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