Canada. 84 minutes. Directed by Christopher MacBride, 2012. Starring Aaron Poole, James Gilbert, Alan Peterson.
Has conspiracy theory gone mainstream? Perhaps yes, perhaps no, but its popularity certainly seems to be on the rise, having gone beyond speculating who really might have killed JFK. These days, everyone seems to have a friend who believes the 9/11 attacks were an inside job or a relative convinced the Sandy Hook shootings were a “false flag” operation. The chairman of the Senate Environment Committee believes that global climate change is a hoax, or at least he did in 2003, and he gives very little reason to believe he’s changed his mind since then. The time is ripe for a movie like The Conspiracy.
Actors Aaron Poole and Jim Gilbert play fictional documentarians Aaron Poole and Jim Gilbert, whose latest subject is Terrance (Alan Peterson), who wanders Toronto with a bullhorn and a big chart, ranting about the New World Order and referring to passers-by as “sheeple.” When Terrance mysteriously disappears, Aaron finds himself picking up where Terrance left off, with the reluctant Jim in tow. All the signs point to the mysterious Tarsus Club as the center of the global conspiracy, but what secret is it hiding?
Anyone familiar with conspiracy literature–whether it be obstensibly “real” or unabashedly fictional–will find The Conspiracy‘s structure and use of tropes to be very familiar. Everything unfolds exactly how the audience expects it to. Writer/director Christopher MacBride doesn’t seem particularly concerned with examining his themes in any depth, and the ultimate “moral”–that “conspiracies” can and always will exist because it’s natural for any individual or group who gains power to collude with others to protect that power–doesn’t come into play until very late in the film.
The pseudo-documentary format serves the film well; although it unravels a bit at the end, MacBride consistently maintains the overall sense of “realism” that can convince the viewer that he or she is watching an actual documentary. MacBride makes an interesting stylistic choice to blur many of the actors’ faces and distort their voices. Not only does this add to the verisimilitude, it also prevents the viewer from identifying some of the more recognizable cast members, such as Julian Richings.
The plot and story of The Conspiracy isn’t likely to surprise the average viewer, but it’s plenty entertaining on its own terms. If you’re looking for a lighter horror offering to pass the time, this just might fit the bill.