Directed by: Chino Moya. Starring: Johann Meyers, Géza Röhrig, Michael Gould. Runtime: 1h 30 min. Released: This film had its World Premiere at Fantasia Film Festival on August 30, 2020.
The most impressive thing about Chino Moya’s Undergods is its world building as he creates a Europe in decline, a blue world that is filmed beautifully by cinematographer David Raedeker. Moya takes us on a journey of five different stories through his world, taking place when hope is either already lost or will soon be lost.
There are so many horror anthologies in the world, and it’s refreshing getting a dramatic anthology. Each story has a fable within it, and they are well-acted. However, the only story I really connected with and thoroughly enjoyed here was the last one starring Adrian Rawlins as Domenic because I found the relationship with his wife, Rachel (Kate Dickie) to be so interesting. The scene here where Domenic has a drunken, one-sided karaoke battle with his boss, Tim (Burn Gorman) is the highlight of the film for me.
Every other story does feature strong drama, too, but I know I missed the point to a lot of these stories. Even if I did understand the point to them, I was underwhelmed and the Domenic story is the only one that will sit with me. Another story feels anticlimactic because it simply flows into this blueish gray future and launches into another tale. This film is truly, truly strange and I wasn’t originally going to catch it at Fantasia but I wanted to challenge myself as a viewer and watch something I wouldn’t necessarily seek out.
I think it’s worth seeking out as the score is amazing, it has a very synth sound as it drives the film. I’ve mentioned before, but the look of the world is my other favourite part about this. There’s a scene in a factory where everyone has pink uniforms on, and which was such a cool contrast from seeing this blueish gray world, going right into something so colourful. Chino Moya’s film also has the right components to be a good film and is well-made, but again, I didn’t connect so much with the characters or every story here. Everyone’s a bit unlikable and I couldn’t get invested because of that, as we learn about their past before the vague fallout that created this strange dystopia.