I JUST SAW… The Conspiracy (USA/Canada, 2012)

Are you intrigued by movies about cults? Would you define yourself as a fan of mockumentaries (or flicks shot in found-footage fashion)? Then, The Conspiracy is a hidden gem that will most luckily please you.

The Conspiracy has also the peculiarity of being the first I JUST SAW film that I actually… well, just saw – which makes my series a bit of hoax, at least for what concerns titles. Oh well…

Let me just start this little review by saying that I bought the Blu-Ray of this horror/thriller during the latest Arrow’s big sale and it was a complete and utter blind-buy: prior to watching it last week, I had no idea this movie existed and I went into it without watching any trailer, reading any reviews and knowing anything about it. As a result, The Conspiracy blew my mind and, for once, my girlfriend’s as well. That’s what I’d call an achievement!

The Conspiracy 1The movie follows two young aspiring filmmakers who want to make a career by discovering real life cults. Upon selecting an apparently delusional conspiracy theorist as the subject of their new movie, they have no idea the terrifying peril they will put themselves in: when the man disappears without a trace, the filmmakers begin an obsessive quest to uncover the truth.

Starring Aaron Poole (The Void, 2017) and James Gilbert, this mockumentary sets itself apart from million other movies shot in found-footage style due to the extreme accuracy that is evident in every trait of the film. For example, on a technical level The Conspiracy shows blurt out people speaking to the camera, with their voices modified by some filter to make them sound unrecognisable. Yet, no unnecessary sequence appears in the film: like in a real documentary, The Conspiracy refuses to include dull dialogues and pointless discussions between characters. As opposed to many mockumentaries or found-footage flicks, this one holds an unbelievable level of realism thanks to the vigilant filmmaking.


The Conspiracy 2.jpgAlso, as the story unfolds, the viewer is dragged into a world where far-fetched theories combine with actual footage of world leaders stating ambiguous sentences about a “new world order” (George W. Bush, Sivlio Berlusconi, Ronald Regan, Bill Gates, Pope Wojtyla…). All the while, implausible statements by random people blend together with court cases about Illuminati, mass hysteria revolving around religious cults, historical proves regarding secret plots to take over governments…

Here lies the first aspect I love about The Conspiracy: besides being a movie about a mysterious cult, this film makes you have doubts on things you would never hesitate about. In fact, I consider myself quite a sceptical and non-suggestible (if that’s a word) person. I don’t believe in anything paranormal or supernatural, I’m rational and apt to find an explanation even to the oddest occurrences.

Nonetheless, The Conspiracy made me question my beliefs and the unshakable certainty that certain things must be fictional. This awkward and uneasy feeling didn’t just accompany me throughout the whole runtime (barely 80 minutes), but it also tagged along for a few days after I watched the film.

Besides, the film makes you feel powerless and little: this feeling of narrowing before something that is greater than us and impossible to fight also sets the movie apart from being an average thriller shot in first person perspective. In a way, The Conspiracy is truly terrifying because it never goes for the over-the-top route and sneaks into your mind slowly but constantly thanks to the truthful portrait of interviews and people’s statements.

The Conspiracy 3In consequence of this subtlety, the viewer must be paying full attention to every single bit of dialogue and to the pieces of the puzzle that are thrown around during the runtime. As such, this is not your typical middle-of-the-road found-footage flick that one might distractedly enjoy for sole entertainment sake. On the contrary, if you’re not down for an experience that requires attention, the film might go right over your head. The effort The Conspiracy requires you to make is particularly important, though, since otherwise the ending would be impossible to understand… you’ve been warned! That would be a shame because the ending is truly great and satisfying (in a depressing and creepy way, that is).

Yet, although the all-around performances are good enough, the main characters are rather hollow. Obviously, since the movie is supposed to make us believe we’re watching a documentary, people behind the camera are excused not to have interesting traits about them. However, this directorial choice doesn’t help the viewer to be invested in the protagonists and this might be seen as a flaw to a certain degree.

Besides that, I really don’t have any other complaint with the movie. Well, perhaps it’s not as rewatchable as one might hope for, since it works mainly as a mystery. Nevertheless, The Conspiracy is a great, unexpected film that I would strongly recommend.

The Conspiracy                    8.5/10

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