Undergods impressed at Fantasia Film Festival 2020 ahead of an eventual cinematic release this month. Chino Moya makes an ambitious, accomplished directorial debut in this dystopian, post-apocalyptic sci-fi. Set in a broken world, the film pieces together apparently separate stories from a selection of the inhabitants. With a sliver of dark humour to complement the gnawing sense of fear and impending doom, Moya feeds viewers disparate tales from a desperate vision of the future.
The clutch of stories, though somewhat detached from one another, are nevertheless linked by a person or place, the narrative shifting, confusingly at times, from one thread to the next. This commitment to tenuous links begins to feel a little unnecessary, and is never properly justified. In spite of the clunky narrative switches, and, consequently, altogether fleeting appearances from the leading characters, the cast are excellent, absolutely committed to the bleak vision. Burn Gorman (Game of Thrones, Pacific Rim) and Kate Dickie (Red Road, Game of Thrones) particularly excel.
Visually sublime, Undergods’ moody colourscape transports viewers to a dim world of brutalist greys and cold blues, sterile laboratories and lifeless dark. This pallet is often punctured by neon reds and similar streaks of laser-like greens, reminiscent of the sci-fi-noir Blade Runner look. The music, a score provided by Wojciech Golczewski, is similarly influenced, with the various stories played out over an underlying synth soundtrack.
The cinematography and effects department have built a dystopian world of decrepit concrete under a dead sky, a decaying Europe, in which the remaining people live in constant strife. It’s arresting – perfectly realised.
Undergods is released in select cinemas on 17th May 2021.
Watch the trailer for Undergods here: