CONSPIRACY X ** UK 2018 Dir: Marina Akarepi, Britmic, Dustin Ferguson, Jason Impey, Kieran Johnston, Sam Mason-Bell, Martin W Payne, Noel J Rainford, Rob Ulitski, Michael J Epstein. 100 mins
An anthology movie from the hugely prolific stable of producer / co-director / co-star Sam Mason-Bell, whose past flirtations with found footage include INDUSTRIAL ANIMALS. Jessica Hunt is hosting a documentary in search of answers to popular conspiracies, gathering with her crew and the aloof editor of “New Thinker” at the home of ex-military intelligence officer Martin W Payne, now a conspiracy theorist happy to confirm that we should all be alarmed about chemtrails, the moon landing hoax and UFOs.
These scenes provide a relatively engaging framing device for a series of individual stories, though tend to get bogged down in overlong discussions of fake news, Pizzagate and 9/11. The interwoven shorts are amateurish but sometimes diverting: though the opening number amusingly punctures the “Illuminati”, incorporating incompetent Satanists with their own banal diary planner (“Monday- wash robes”) and literal lizard people. “Valentine” covers the health risks posed by mobile phones, while “Fist of God” purports to show a bonafide KGB brainwashing video in its investigation of the religious factions on a mission to weaken the U.S. economy. Other stories cover pharmaceutical experimentation and the dark web – with the latter the most laughable in its account of a woman bored of vanilla sex who graduates from dry humping skeletons to cannibalism. Someone actually says “What, dead corpses?”. There’s a paranormal investigation story involving a vigil held by “Hit Paranormal” that leads to distinctly unfrightening cries of “Oh my God, you’ve got three scratches on your back!” And an intentionally silly debunking of cryptology features the Bigfoot-like “Skunkape” terrorising a group of Nebraskan women having a makeover night. Meanwhile, Payne becomes ever more paranoid as he rants about the “truth out there” en route to a goofy “shock” denouement.
Review by Steven West