In The Earth
Nature is a force of evil
Even out of the rotten acorns that the recent dreaded proposition “pandemic horror” has sown, mighty oaks can grow: as the cult British director Ben Wheatley so grandly demonstrates in his mythic folk freak-out In the Earth. Making his name with low-key homegrown chillers like Kill List and A Field in England, his studio stock seemed to be increasing with a rather stuffy re-imagining of Rebecca for Netflix. Nonetheless, with all of the past months’ isolation and introspection, he returned to safer ground with such refreshing results—plunging his hands into the unwholesome British soil, Wheatley has managed to unearth a trove of rural queasiness.
During some sort of Covid-adjacent happening, Martin Lowery (Joel Fry) into a woodland to investigate subterranean fungal growths called ‘mycorrhizae’. Inevitably, this is not the only invisible, binding force at play: the pair stumble upon a local legend of a female spirit called Parnag Fegg, and a mysterious stranger Zach (portentously played by Reece Shearsmith) appears to have made a home of this restricted outpost. There’s a recurring emphasis on death and rebirth.
While the director’s pet motifs of intense unease and some very real violence might be tiresome to some, it will excite all of his fans, with a hallucinogenic experience that might just remind you the pleasure of a cinema. Just don’t go into the woods alone…
Screenings of this film:
|2021/2022 Autumn Term – (digital)|