WWhile the mainstream film industry struggled with the restrictions of the Covid crisis, the horror genre offered creative opportunities for those willing to take risks. Last year saw the writing, filming and release of Rob Savage Host, a brilliantly simplified online séance cooler, tailor-made for home viewing.
Meanwhile, High Director Ben Wheatley went the other way, conjuring up a wide-screen outdoor party (written during the first confinement and quickly shot last summer) that plays like a 15th-century mix. Malleus maleficarum and the 2020 mycelium-themed book by Merlin Sheldrake Tangled life – all reimagined as a mind-blowing horror movie. A modern complement to Wheatley’s eccentric 2013 civil war movie. A field in England (complete with shroomy visions and rope-tied walks), it might as well have been called A Forest in England.
In a world ravaged by a deadly pandemic, Martin Lowery (Joel Fry) teams up with park explorer Alma (Ellora Torchia) for a Blair Witch-style hike through the British woods. They are ready to meet with Dr. Wendle (Hayley Squires), a renegade scientist who investigates how plant life is linked underground, like a giant brain. But this final day Hansel and Gretel are not alone, with ominous traces of missing fellow travelers suggesting something wicked is coming this way. Is someone in the forest watching them? Or is it the mythical forest spirit of Parnag Fegg?
To reveal much more about the plot, it channels everything from Algernon Blackwood’s early 20th century novel. Willows¸through the ’70s gem scripted by Nigel Kneale The stone ribbon, to 2018 by Alex Garland Annihilation, it would be spoiling a delightful item of discovery. Suffice it to say that, as with all of Wheatley’s best works, On earth It combines humor and horror in a wildly deceptive way, especially during a hideously lengthy amputation sequence that will have you squirming, laughing and wincing at the same time.
Furthermore, Cyriak Harris’ spiral animations are combined with inventive on-camera visuals (applause to production designer Felicity Hickson and cinematographer Nick Gillespie) to demonstrate that, as Reece Shearsmith’s haunted hermit observes, Zach : “Photography is like magic”.
Wheatley previously flirted with the trappings of British folk horror in Death list, a thriller that unexpectedly turned outlandish Wicker man–pagan ritual style. Here, it is based on the monochromatic experiments of A field in England to evoke immersive and colorful explosions of sight and sound, reminiscent of the glorious visionary excesses of Ken Russell Altered states.
Wheatley can almost be heard laughing with delight at some of the movie’s most outrageous sequences, with Clint Mansell’s beautiful giallo-tinged score intertwined with Martin Pavey’s vibrant sound designs, like a vast sonic mycorrhiza. The result absolutely demands to be experienced on the largest possible screen in a dark auditorium with the sound turned up to 11, immersing the viewer in its delightfully dark spell.
Sometimes I was reminded of science fiction writer John Wyndham’s wacky ecological themes, especially in a wonderfully intoxicating sequence in which the forest traps its human visitors in a mist of fungal spores. There are also hints of the 70s retro pastoral goth seen recently in the Canadian mockumentary of the cursed movie. Cavity, in which gates to heaven or hell lurk among the dug up celluloid foliage.
However, whatever the tangential comparisons, On earth is without a doubt the product of Wheatley’s unique and fetid imagination, an imagination that has grown like a psilocybin-rich mushroom over the steamy and inspiring garbage dump of Nicolas Roeg and John Boorman, filtered through an apprenticeship in viral comedy and a long-standing love of anarchic dystopian horror. .
From here, Wheatley is going to film the game of “Jason Statham shark kicker”. The Meg 2 (Can’t wait to see what he does with that!) Meanwhile, this gleefully mischievous film serves as a timely response and rebellious retort to the restrictions of confinement, a terrifying breath of fresh air with a pantheistic stinger on its tail.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism