"...a stream-of-conscious trip from one doomed situation to the next."
- Branden Mayer
Undergods is a vividly stylish and darkly fantastical vision of an unspecified future. The film follows two gasoline-addled goons as they collect bodies and tell stories of other people’s miserable lives in their decrepit and dying world. Undergods is the feature-length directorial debut of Chino Moya, who has a lot of fun interconnecting this series of short stories by their loose ends, taking the viewer on a stream-of-conscious trip from one doomed situation to the next. Despite all its hopelessness, the film never fails to be a good time, in large part thanks to a bevy of impressive performances from an inspired ensemble cast of characters, each interesting enough in their short time on screen that you wouldn’t mind spending the full runtime with any one of them.
The film is shot beautifully, with its brutalist backdrop matched perfectly to the wonderful soviet-synth soundtrack and yet, its art-design is grounded in a reality that doesn’t let the audience forget that this world is only a few key missteps away from where we are now. Undergods paints a painful picture of a slightly starker divide between classes than we have currently: the poor are forced to kill and sell each other to get by; the middle class work empty jobs and lead loveless lives in fear of falling prey to the poor; and the wealthy seem to be doing alright, but really - just alright. If it weren’t for the dreamy style, charm and impressive pacing, it would almost feel masochistic.
Undergods seems to be a film about a world where even your home is a prison. With a middle class so run-down by their pointless late-capitalism dream-chasing that they can hardly afford a smile between themselves - only a bloodless hatred. It seems that those who openly reflect and embrace the ugliness of this world have the ability to grasp any semblance of happiness - even if only at the bottom of a gasoline can. Undergods premiered through Fantasia Film Festival on August 30th and will have a final online screening on Wednesday September 2nd. If you’re ready for a visually captivating, funny and appropriately upsetting ride, we strongly suggest you get your ticket now.