Home In The Earth + Q&A

In The Earth + Q&A (15)

Cast: Hayley Squires, Reece Shearsmith, Joel Fry
Genre: Horror
Author(s): Ben Wheatley
Director: Ben Wheatley
Release Date: 17/06/2021
Running Time: 108mins
Country: UK
Year: 2021

In the aftermath of a deadly virus, scientist Martin Lowery treks into the wilderness to assist with a groundbreaking study of flora run by his old flame, Dr Olivia Wendle. She is operating in woodland steeped in myth and magic, where local schoolchildren draw pictures of a malevolent forest spirit called Parnag Fegg. Park ranger Alma patiently leads Martin on the gruelling two-day hike to Dr Wendle's camp. During the expedition, Alma senses they are being watched.


LondonNet Film Review
In The Earth (15)

Beware the kindness of strangers. Written in response to the Covid pandemic and filmed during last summer’s lockdown when the milk of human kindness nourished communities during months of isolation, In The Earth is a trip in the most disorienting, hallucinogenic sense. Essex-born director Ben Wheatley’s return to his psychological horror roots before he dives into The Meg 2 with Jason Statham conjures a woozy, kaleidoscopic nightmare in a rugged, rain-soaked environment that thrums with unseen life and threat. “People get a bit funny in the woods, sometimes,” observes a medic (Mark Monero) near the beginning of the film, foreshadowing more than an hour of phantasmagorical lunacy and gnarly mysticism that unhinges the characters’ minds and ultimately Wheatley’s picture…

Repeated use of intense flashing images, which may affect viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy, is an effective sensory overload to reflect underlying fears of emerging from lockdown and being overwhelmed by visual and aural stimuli after an extended period of solitude. Wheatley seldom flinches – a blackly comic set piece involving an infected foot and an axe achieves a perfect, stomach-churning blend of nervous giggles and full-blown gore. Clint Mansell’s score and an unsettling ambient soundtrack vie for supremacy as the script’s tug of war between science and superstition becomes increasingly brutal and bamboozling.

In the aftermath of a deadly virus, scientist Martin Lowery (Joel Fry) treks into the wilderness to assist with a groundbreaking study of flora run by his old flame, Dr Olivia Wendle (Hayley Squires). She is operating in woodland steeped in myth and magic, where local schoolchildren draw pictures of a malevolent forest spirit called Parnag Fegg. Park ranger Alma (Ellora Torchia) patiently leads Martin on the gruelling two-day hike to Dr Wendle’s camp, which tests his diminished stamina after months of inactivity.

During the expedition, Alma senses they are being watched and her nagging suspicions are confirmed when they are attacked at night in their tents by an unseen assailant, who steals their shoes and Martin’s scientific instruments. A shaggy-haired hermit called Zach (Reece Shearsmith) comes to the injured party’s aid and gradually discloses a fascination with nature’s primordial rhythms that lie just beyond a thick fog of mushroom spores.

In The Earth refuses to be neatly pigeonholed as a survival thriller, slasher horror or an ill-advised jaunt into folkloric terror with faint murmurs of The Evil Dead and Midsommar. Wheatley’s film treads its own haphazard path, sometimes to its own detriment, especially in a messy final reckoning. Fry and Torchia’s measured performances contrast with the cold, clammy creepiness of Shearsmith and Squires, the former walking a tightrope between mania and menace. Explosions of graphic violence leave nothing to the imagination courtesy of nauseating make-up effects and prosthetics. Beware the kindness of friends, and strangers.

– Sarah Lee


London Cinemas Showing In The Earth + Q&A


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UK and Irish Cinemas Showing In The Earth + Q&A


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