Directors have a hard task on their hands when it comes to shocking die-hard horror fans and film critics at the annual Frightfest in London. There’s not much in the way of horror that these crowds haven’t seen so delivering something genuinely fear-inducing is becoming increasingly difficult. In fact, that sentiment probably extends to the regular cinemagoer too –nowadays there’s so much graphic content available to the general public via the Internet and so many more boundaries are pushed in the cinema it seems that genuine fear or dread is hard to achieve.

Luckily, director Christopher MacBride has broken the mould.

Frightfest 2013 saw the UK premiere of The Conspiracy, a found-footage slash documentary-style film about conspiracy theories surrounding major world events –think 9/11, the Kennedy Assassination, the banking crisis – and how these may link to the mysterious and elite Tarsus Club.

The-Conspiracy

The faux-documentary follows two filmmakers played by Aaron Poole and James Gilbert as they explore popular conspiracy theories and the freethinkers [and occasional nut-jobs] that propagate them. Number one conspiracy nerd is Terrance who consequently vanishes into thin air after years of spreading ‘the truth’. The filmmaking duo takes on where Terrance left off and fall into an intense world of paranoia, patterns, codes and freemason style elite groups for the rich and powerful. There is a dichotomy that creates a sense of fear here: on the one hand, the idea that what they are researching seems to be proving to be feasible and on the other, how engulfed their lives become thanks to their own paranoia.

When the pair decide to infiltrate the ritualistic meeting that keeps cropping up in their searches – the aforementioned Tarsus Club – it descends into blurry images with deep breathing, running and crying captured via cameras in their tie pins. Although at times hard to see what is going on this is the final push that the film needed to definitely assert its position in the realms of fiction.

MacBride successfully bridges the gap between polished documentary style and found footage jauntiness which simultaneously amps up the realism and the fear factor.

The information seems plausible and realistic, presumably because although the film is fictional the ideas are real- and they permeate our subconscious fears about our own lives. MacBride has found the new boogie man- the political monster. Our freedom, choices and safety are continually questioned in society nowadays and to explore the ideas that these threats are purposely caused as a means of control is simply terrifying. A great twist within in the genre.

The Conspiracy has a sense of dread throughout and really taps into the overwhelming sense of doom that is felt in cyberpunk and dystopian narratives. These dystopian elements are really felt when they discuss the idea of political super powers creating a ‘new world order’.

For years conspiracy theories have existed, with believers becoming more prevalent within the public eye thanks to the internet. MacBride has taken these theories to life in a believable manner.

It looks like a documentary, acts like a documentary and could almost fool you into thinking it is one – luckily it is just fiction.

VERDICT: [rating=4]

 

About The Author

Emily Stockham

Emily is from South London and has a degree in English Literature. Emily is a marketing assistant who writes about films and music in her spare time. Horror and grindhouse are her thing – although she will happily watch anything if it means a trip to the cinema.