Following the title card, the film begins with a series of Ho99o9’s personal home videos, showing them performing on various stages, signing autographs, and traveling from city to city; a documentation of their personal growth and performance. These scenes are spliced together haphazardly, edited with distorted filters, neon colors, and green screened into various trippy backgrounds. Maintaining the idea of the film’s sense of video collage, around the midpoint, a clip from Paid in Full (2002)—in which, one character, Rico, explains that he “mushed” a “whole cake” in someone’s face to wish him a happy birthday—is included. Said clip is then paralleled with a 2017 home video that was shot in Lisbon, where Ho99o9’s The OGM took his own cake (or possibly just a pile of whipped cream) and smashed it in Eaddy’s face in celebration of his birthday.
These light-hearted inclusions to the film, despite their entertainment value, don’t make up the bulk of what makes this film compelling, however. That said, in significant contrast to these scenes, Children of the Void contains a few subliminal features that hint at a much deeper discussion than what appears on the surface.
Since their debut, Ho99o9 have garnered a reputation for their willingness to speak on life’s atrocities, from police brutality (and the fact that it is namely targeted at Black people), to the failings of the United States government (and, in the same vein, the carelessness and misuse of power exhibited by politicians), and the plea for anarchy in the face of oppressive societal patterns. That said, they’ve gained a huge cult following, along with recognition for their abrasive, experimental style, and outspokenness regarding how most of what has been normalized is truly fucked up at its core (which they certainly aren’t wrong about). With Children of the Void’s opening scene, Ho99o9’s tendency for political commentary continues, and introduces the deeper meaning behind the film… [+]