04th Oct2013

Grimmfest 2013 Review: ‘The Conspiracy’

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Aaron Poole, James Gilbert, Ian Anderson, Angela Besharah, Bruce Clayton, Laura de Carteret, Peter Apostolopoulos | Written and Directed by Christopher MacBride

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“For you see, the world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined…” – Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister 1874 – 1880

The Conspiracy is directed by Christopher MacBride, who makes his feature film debut behind the camera to tell this tale. The story follows two guys named Aaron (Aaron Poole) and Jim (James Gilbert) who are making a documentary about people who believe in conspiracy theories. It begins as a basic documentary as we follow the shoulder’s of these two filmmakers as they speak with people who believe in these ideas. It is striking, to begin with, by how realistic these opening scenes are where the camera rests on talking heads who are speaking about the topic at hand.

This Canadian made film feels authentic and I love the way the foundations of the story were laid out in such a pragmatic way. The acting is really good and well done. It isn’t often you see performances that are very believable in this sort of way, and I think they are successful in what they wanted to achieve. Having watched actual documentaries about conspiracy theories surrounding such events as 9/11, the whole concept of this film was extremely intriguing to me.

After investigating conspiracy theories and their chosen subject of focus, they find that their subject has gone missing and the film makers find themselves getting lost in their mission to uncover whether or not these people that they have been documenting are delusional, or if, perhaps, somehow, they aren’t.

The cinematography is high-quality too, with the mixture of doc-style edited interview clips, fly on the wall technique camera work, and handheld footage, it makes for a factual view of the story and works really well.

It’s not all sunshine and brilliance, there are a couple of sluggish points to the story that seem to unnecessarily slow the film down and make you feel like they need to get to the point a little quicker, and every once in a while there are moments that feel less genuine which makes for a very dramatic variation from the rest of the film, which makes a point to seem true to life.

Through a series of tense and uncomfortable situations and events the story takes a very ominous turn, and without spoiling things for those who have yet to see it, it makes for a very dark and heart-in-mouth final act.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Conspiracy, and it is certainly one of the better found footage or mockumentary horror films I’ve seen. It offers a new concept for the genre and the creators and performers really sell it like they mean it. Well worth your consideration, I sure as hell won’t be going to any all-male cocktail parties, not that I ever get invited to them.

The Conspiracy screens at The Dancehouse, Manchester as part of Grimmfest 2013 on Saturday October 5th at 8pm. The film then hits DVD and Blu-ray on October 14th, courtesy of Arrow Films.

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