Reviews | Written by Joel Harley 05/12/2022

SOMETHING IN THE DIRT

Neighbourly cordiality becomes a ghost-hunting partnership when two slackers discover paranormal activity in their Los Angeles apartment block. Hitting it off over a bummed cigarette, John (Aaron Moorhead) and Levi (Justin Benson) form a bond when an ashtray begins spontaneously levitating in the latter's apartment. Sensing an opportunity for fame and fortune, the pair assemble a collection of cameras and recording equipment and set about documenting their experience.

The latest from Indie darlings Benson and Moorhead (The Endless, Moon Knight) picks up threads from their previous work, infusing slacker comedy with cosmic oddities and metaphysical theory. Sounds like heady stuff but is grounded by Moorhead and Benson’s character work. The dialogue sparkles as layers and hidden depths are peeled off of these rounded, lived-in characters. It’s a testament to the performances and characters that the slow-burn two-hour runtime never feels like a drag.

Drawn to each other, John and Levi inhabit a vision of Los Angeles that appears to be teetering on the edge of apocalypse. As the landscape burns and smoke fills the sky, earthquakes shake the very foundations of the city, birds slam into windows, and ashtrays levitate across the room. Benson and Moorhead tap into a cosmic conspiracy, uncovering decades of supernatural mythology, buried deep in Los Angeles history. As talk turns to doomsday cults and scary doors, not-quite friendship fragments, and tension build between the pair.

Still, the film keeps it light, employing a unique framework to the story – the ultimate unreliable narrator.  This haunting sci-fi comedy recalls Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Poltergeist, employing a Spielbergian tone and special effects to deliver a worthy follow-up to the directors' previous work.  Something in the Dirt is a complex and ponderous piece but feels down-to-Earth and real. Rich in metaphysical delights but never loses sight of its humanity.

Something In The Dirt is in UK Cinemas from 4th November and on Digital Download & Blu-Ray from 5th December