Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean that they really aren’t out to get you. Right? The country is filled with people that harbor conspiracy theories and sightings of alien life forms. Are they coming from a basis of truth or are they just off their rocker? As someone that is quite the skeptic, I lean a little more towards the latter opinion. That still doesn’t shut down the fact that I would be ecstatic if we truly have been in contact with extraterrestrial life. But, what if they are right? MAN UNDERGROUND poses that question for us in it’s Fantasia Film Fest premiere.
Millenium Blonde is a film and video production company based out of New York, fronted by Michael Borowiec and Sam Marine. The duo have previously worked on music videos, documentaries, and web series, and MAN UNDERGROUND is their first narrative feature film. And what a strangely sweet first venture it is, as we get what can only be described as the NAPOLEON DYNAMITE of alien conspiracy movies.
From the official synopsis here:
In a small town in upstate NY, Willem Koda, a retired geologist and alien conspiracy theorist, struggles to find an audience for his controversial beliefs. After befriending Flossie, a local waitress and aspiring actress, and Todd, an amateur filmmaker living off his Uncle’s inheritance, Willem decides to make a low-budget movie about his life, re-enacting scenes from his crumbled marriage and his violent encounters with aliens while working for the US Government. As the movie gets made, Flossie and Todd watch as Willem confronts his past and grows increasingly paranoid about his future.
Willem (George Basil, “Flaked”, ROLLER TOWN) is an odd duck. No other way around it, but he also knows what he’s talking about. His confidence in speaking about things geological and astrological are beyond convincing, despite how far out the things are. You grow to want to believe in him, and as we see him grow all the more paranoid, we realize that he’s obvious been exposed to something so dark and haunting, that he literally has scars from it. He is just driven to tell the truth about his experiences, and isn’t willing to compromise in order to make it palatable to the masses.
What the synopsis and trailer don’t truly convey is how much heart is hidden in this film. Borowiec and Marine are able to pump so much vibrancy into this picture through lovingly staged shots and an infectious soundtrack. From the trailer, I expected this movie to truly get morose, but I left it feeling upbeat and inspired. I laughed extremely hard throughout the film, and even shed a tear. While there are moments that are sad, it is handled so lovingly, that you can’t help but feel that things will turn around from there.
Part of that exuberance and optimistic spirit is carried by Willem’s compatriots, Flossie (Pamela Fila, PAST PRESENT FUTURE) and Todd (Andy Rocco, “Fat Guy Stuck in Internet”). Flossie, at first despondent that she had to move back home with her parents and take a job as a waitress, is immediately feeling blessed that she’s offered an acting role. And Todd, the nephew of one of Willem’s old co-workers, is just happy that he’s getting to spend some more time with someone that meant so much to his uncle. They are both very different people, yet they are both great friends, something that Willem is not used to, but needs so badly.
This film is a bit of a sleeper, and I do hope that more people are able to check it out as it deserves some praise. With its heart, I think that it can really appeal to a wide audience.
MAN UNDERGROUND had its international premiere at Fantasia International Film Fest on July 22nd, 2016 and will be moving onto London Frightfest and Telluride Horror Show. Be sure to dig it up!
Derek Smith. Hot Wings. Horror. Dad Jokes.