I first heard about The Conspiracy a little over 12 months ago during the pre-UK Horror Scene days where the first place you went for movie reviews was Dread Central. It caught my interest as they awarded it their highest rating – five daggers, so I made a mental note and here I sit a year later about to take a look at this lauded film.
Before I review it, I must disclose that I’m a conspiracy theorist. I know, I don’t get out much and I spend far too much of my life on the internet, but hey – nobody’s perfect. So to me, the idea of this as a horror concept got me foaming at the mouth with frenzied excitement. The film itself follows Aaron and Jim played respectively by Aaron (Poole) and Jim (Gilbert), see what they did there! Toying the line between fantasy and reality these two documentarians are probing into the life of Terrance, who appears to be your garden variety nutjob conspiracy theorist (as opposed to a regular kinda guy like myself *coughs*).
His home is a mess, the curtains remain closed, little bits of paper litter the whole house, and he has a ‘war room’ which is home to newspaper clippings of any significance. What piqued Aaron and Jim’s interest was an online video of Terrance. They admit that while most people may have found his ranting in a city centre with a megaphone of most interest, they themselves were most intrigued by the slew of comments beneath the video which not only agreed with him, but alluded to a secret society of some kind that holds sway over major worldwide political decisions.
They both begin to get to know Terrance quite well over a period of time, but things take a concerning turn when after some unanswered calls they visit his apartment and discover it abandoned and left in total disarray. Genuinely worried for his welfare, Aaron attempts to pull the pieces of Terrance’ jigsaw together and becomes gradually more obsessed with the plausibility of what he was looking into. Jim on the other hand remains the more cynical of the pair, and with a young family at home appears more reluctant to accept Aaron’s theories. Gradually though he takes a bigger role as the investigation gathers momentum, but as it does the risks become greater and what they uncover becomes more shocking than they could have expected.
The Conspiracy manages to achieve a number of things that I’d consider to be problematic. Firstly, it takes the now somewhat tired found footage aspect and makes it both gripping and tense. Secondly, it treats the much maligned subject of conspiracy theories with diplomacy and respect. Christopher MacBride’s film defies pigeonholing into any specific genre as it brilliantly skips from faux-documentary to drama, with a final quarter that eclipses many horror films for white knuckle suspense.
Whereas you may begin this film as a cold hearted cynic, I’d be very surprised if you didn’t reach for your laptop after the end credits and at the very least undertake some cursory internet searches with regard to the theories covered.
8 out of 10
• Deleted scenes with intros from Christopher MacBride
• Christopher MacBride interview