Weird Wednesday – The Conspiracy

This is part of a new cinema thing I plan on doing every Wednesday just to keep things fresh. Enjoy 🙂

The translation of the weird into a medium that is primarily visual (be it movies or video-games) is something people get their proverbial panties in a twist about for no reason I can really comprehend. The idea goes that movies tend to show you everything, so that ‘estrangement of that which cannot be described’ element is lost.

Let me be the first to call bullshit. Movies don’t show you everything. Movies give you a peephole the size of your screen into a world that ideally should be as three dimensional and well realized as our own. When done right, weird cinema is all about what’s going on in the places around the screen. It’s all about what we don’t see.

If you’ve burned through the entire Lovecraft collection, managed to wrestle with the Night Land behemoth and have already reread all the Mieville and Moorcock stories you happen to have, conspiracy theories are where you should be going. Most people only really watch the TMZ-esque five minute conspiracy theory videos on YouTube but that’s not really where all the weird fun is. If you google hard enough, you’ll find entire works of non-fiction going up to twenty chapters about Monarch, MK ULTRA and the lizards.

I leave the choice of whether it is fiction or not entirely up to you but I can assure you, this stuff is most certainly weird. Why? Because it follows the intrinsic idea of the weird. The novum is something that has always been there, watching us. It is something we haven’t noticed yet but has always been there, subtly shaping world history. And that’s squarely where conspiracy theories lie. The government is working against you. Everyone in charge are satanists. Horrible mind-control experiments have been going on (and are going on) with young children as the guinea pigs. And most of all, all the music you listen to, every news source and every movie you watch is subliminally controlling you.

If that isn’t weird fiction, I don’t know what is.

Which brings us to the topic at hand: The Conspiracy. The Conspiracy is a 2012 Canadian horror-thriller directed by Christopher MacBride. It follows a two-man documentary crew interviewing an enigmatic figure named Terrance. Terrance (portrayed brilliantly by Alan Peterson) is one of those nutters who think 9/11 was an inside job, the government has been overrun and that shadowy organizations control the global financial and political systems we have come to rely on. They are initially skeptical. Then, Terrance disappears and they fall down a dark, dangerous rabbit hole trying to find out what exactly happened to him.

I’m generally not into found footage movies but this one is very very unobtrusive. For most of its run-time, it handles itself like a well-shot documentary and avoids most of the gimmicks that plague this genre. The performances by Alan Poole and James Gilbert are very nuanced and balanced and it is never implausible as a proper documentary. There are no jump-scares and nothing particularly supernatural but it does a gradual buildup of tension that is just so tangible and effective.

I knew this movie worked because the moment it was done, that weird conspiracy thing started happening to me. I started reading up on all this stuff again and that sort of shift started happening in my mind. I was starting to consider whether the government conspiracy thing was plausible.

The Conspiracy is produced by Resolute Films and distributed by XLRator.