Directed by Christopher MacBride
Starring Aaron Poole, James Gilbert, Ian Anderson
Review by Jordan
A faux-doco/found footage thriller in the mold of Catfish, Christopher MacBride’s utterly captivating The Conspiracy has an ability to unnerve and petrify in a startlingly unique way unrivaled by any film of the last few years. Some patchy dialogue, questionable acting and overuse of archival footage (including the quite tasteless addition of 911 shots) are apparent, but never threaten to detail the taut, timely and terrific proceedings that carefully build to a stunning third act.
Horror fans take notice; this is not a film you should ignore or put off, but rather a meticulous, courageous tale of obsession and the ever-conspiring “They” that while not perfect exceeds tremendously.
Aaron and James are 2 budding filmmakers directing a documentary on conspiracy theorists; those that take to the street with megaphones and poorly constructed signs, that meet in the darkest reaches of the internet and at the independent bookstore, in particular the happily vocal and confronting Terrance (T-Rex to his friends in the online chat room Conspiracy Cafe). They’re interested more in the willingness of the outcasts to believe/create these theories more than the merits of the theories themselves, admitting that if these theories really are just unfounded ramblings with 0% accuracy then these believers truly are crazy… but what if they’re not?
When Terrance suddenly and silently disappears without a trace, Aaron finds himself now drawn to the conspiracies over the crazies and thrusts himself head first into this murky world to find out what he was investigating, with James his now-reluctant sidekick, fearful that this outside world has now been brought into his own house and that perhaps there really is something more, something sinister going on…
Attracted by the striking cover art, I was first drawn to The Conspiracy at my old place of work in the city before again noticing it for $2.50 at the secondhand movie shop down the road from home; a solid investment if ever there was one. Having been utterly captivated and pleasantly surprised watching it alone on a lazy Saturday arvo I wanted to gauge its effect upon second viewing, as well as how others would react to its unique offerings, so on Sunday night it was round 2 with some friends. One of which left half-way through feeling an increasing unease, and another vocally and physically tense as the finale approached it’s crescendo, proving this must-see thriller to be a resounding success.
The Conspiracy is simply one of the best films of its kind in a sub-genre that has rocketed since the fictional horrors The Blair Witch Project and the very real ones of 911. A low budget may be the catalyst for the unmissable flaws, but given this modest approach is also what generates the guerrilla aesthetic and infectious energy emitted it is as small a price to pay as my $2.50.
See this film, ensuring not the read the blurb or any (other) reviews beforehand.
4.5 ominous handshakes out of 5