'Wait, what just happened?' Not the usual way to begin a review but then Chino Moya's dystopian anthology Undergods is a very unusual film. The last time I sat with a pen and paper trying to work out causality after a film was after Tenet and if I'm honest, I think I had more success with Tenet. Imagine, if you will, that Kafka and Ray Bradbury had an illicit love affair at the end of the world, while mainlining Pink Floyd: The Wall. Undergods is the illegitimate love child from that union.
All this. Everything will be sucked into a massive hole and then all will be fog.
You know what, I'm going to level with you, I had to watch this film twice. It wasn't simply a matter of putting it all together in my head, although that was certainly a factor, it was so that I could better enjoy the pure artistry of it the second time around.
Undergods is a beautifully desaturated, desolate film.
We begin in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where K (Johann Myers) and Z (Géza Röhrig) are driving around, rounding up fresh meat. In between guzzling diesel fuel, they tell each other about their dreams, or in this case nightmares.
And so we meet Ron (Michael Gould), Ruth and their unwelcome guest Harry; storyteller Octavius and his curious daughter Horatia; the greedy developer Hans and his beloved daughter Maria (Tanya Reynolds); a factory at the end of the world; and the second husband Dominic who makes an unhappy acquaintance with his predecessor. Whether it's in a brand new high rise or a long-destroyed city, the stories in Undergods are a matryoshka doll of fairy tales about unlucky protagonists and moral misadventures.
It's about the worst possible things happening to the most deserving people, the seedy underbelly of the world and the underdogs that nourish and sustain our society. Grim, certainly, but Undergods is a lot of fun.
Director Chino Moya utilises every inch of the screen and delivers a unique viewing experience. Visually spectacular with superb sound editing and music, Undergods has the makings of a cult film; it's exactly the type of film I tend to watch over and over again.
I thought I wasn't the biggest fan of anthologies but Undergods ties up brilliantly into a trippy, mind bending whole. I give it an excellent four out of five stars and cannot wait to see what Chino Moya does next. Recommended for fans of post-apocalyptic horror and surreal timelines. ★★★★☆
Undergods will be in select cinemas and On Demand from May 17.