Welcome to the Ending Explained for Arctic Void, a drama mystery film directed by Darren Mann, and written by William Paul Jones, Jay Kirk, and Darren Mann himself. The film stars Michael Weaver, Tim Griffin, and Justin Huen. The film tells the story of a documentary crew filming in Longyearbyen, the northernmost settlement of more than one thousand inhabitants on the planet. Strange things start happening while the crew shoots footage for a TV show regarding this desolate location. The film feels like a combination of personal drama and conspiracy theories.
Arctic Void is a low-budget production. The film consists of three characters wandering around abandoned ruins. The limited locations on the setting and the small number of characters scream at limited resources.
This is not bad. We have seen many small films compensate for their lack of resources with amazing stories or characters. Yet, Arctic Void feels like it never really starts. The characters are well-defined, but the movie never goes deep into developing the themes and characters it is trying to tackle. The result is a movie that feels like it could have been a short film instead of a feature film.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Arctic Void. Read at your own risk.
Why are Ray and Allan going to Longyearbyen?
Arctic Void might not be the most complete of films, but it’s starting premise is quite strong. In fact, the movie starts very strongly by introducing us to our main characters. The acting in the film is quite solid overall, so props to the actors for drawing very solid characters with the material they had. We get introduced to Ray and Alan as they arrive at Longyearbyen.
The place is cold and lonely, there are no taxis outside the airport, and Alan fears they will miss the boat they are supposed to take. Ray and Alan plan to make an episode of their show on Longyearbyen and the wildlife that lives there.
From these very early introductions, the movie defines the two characters by how they approach a single situation. Alan panics as he sees no transport method to take them to their boat. Meanwhile, Ray seems all but bothered by the situation and suggests they talk to some locals to see what they can do.
Alan tries to call the boat while Ray talks to a local some feet from them. Ray discovers that the guy is the owner of the taxi company and that he will be taking them to their boat. The situation presents Alan as an introvert and Ray as an extrovert. They are friends and colleagues; on the show, Ray is the host, and Alan is the producer and writer, but they are very different people.
On the boat, the situation presents several interesting ideas. They are not the only passengers on this boat that will tour them around the area of Longyearbyen. The main guide, Jim, seems quite cheerful and likes to make jokes at the expense of their passengers but never goes so far as to be annoying.
Jim explains that people live here for the beauty of everything, the isolation, and that nature rules here. If you don’t follow nature’s rules, you die. Jim says some people disappear if they don’t follow the rules. Alan and Ray meet Sean at the boat, a local camera operator who will shoot B-Roll, interviews, and other things for the show. Sean is quiet, and alongside his camera, he brings a metal lunchbox with him.
While Sean is not looking, Ray opens the lunchbox and sees it contains a recording device. He picks up the earphones and listens to the recording. He passes it to Alan, so he can also listen to it. They can’t properly identify what it is, but it is very calm and sounds like singing whales.
They put everything in its place before Sean could see them. Ray flirts with German girls on the boat, and Alan speaks with scientists looking to research the northern lights. Alan misses his wife and sends her a message promising that he will leave the show and that this is his last effort at producing it.
What happened to the people on the Boat?
After the movie sets up the characters and the setting during the first twenty minutes, it executes the inciting incident that will propel the rest of the movie. The incident is quite serious, but sadly, the movie never explores the event. There is just a proper confession of what happened, and the conclusion we can reach feels quite mundane and straightforward.
This takes all the mystery out of the film. On top of that, the movie never goes further into the characters. What we saw during the setup is what we get for the rest of the movie, which is another hour.
What happened? Well, the rest of the passengers on the boat disappeared. Their bodies and clothes disappear, but they leave their things on the ground. These objects are the only clues that they were there in the first place. Alan and Ray freak out.
The tension between them finally explodes, and it is not pretty. Alan freaks out the most. He didn’t want to go on this trip and was worried about why everyone else had disappeared but them. He believes they are ghosts. They find Sean, who also seems surprised by everyone else disappearance. Alan finds the German girls’ camera and sees the recording. He is in shock.
The boat continues its path and reaches an abandoned town. The trio descends from the ship and explores the town. They find only an old TV tuned to static and just one room where the lights work. There is nothing else around it. Alan begins to feel bad, and his condition worsens in just a few hours.
Alan shows the German girls’ camera to Ray. The recording shows the girls disappearing in thin air and Sean recording everything with his camera. Ray confronts Sean. Sean explains he was hired by a government organization to come here and record an experiment, some sort of sonic weapon.
After the experiment, he was supposed to contact them from the boat, but he decided to land with Ray and Alan as he had no radio.
Ray cannot believe it, but in the end, having no idea what could have happened, he accepts this explanation. Sean and Ray decide to work together and fix a boat to travel back to the mainland and escape. Sean explains that the recording in the lunchbox is like protection against the weapon and is the only reason the three are still alive.
Alan records one last message to his family, and Ray throws it into the sea. Alan finally dies from the effects of the weapon. Ray cries over his friend. Outside, Sean was fixing the boat, but he was shot in the head from an unknown location. Ray hears the shot and sees Sean’s body on the ground. At that moment, the phone in the room starts ringing.
The movie ends with a shot of Sean’s body on the ground as we hear the phone ringing. It seems Ray doesn’t dare pick it up. It seems that the people running the experiment decided that Sean was not worth saving and killed him as well. They only need the data from his recordings. It is unclear if they know that Ray also listened to the whales and is still alive, but the phone ringing in his room suggests that they do and that they are coming for him.