Undergods (2020) reviews and overview of dystopian sci-fi fantasy

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[Total: 22   Average: 2.8/5]

Undergods is a 2020 dystopian science-fiction fantasy feature film about an otherworldly journey through a Europe in decline.

Written and directed by Chino Moya – making his feature debut – the movie is described in its press blurb as “a collection of darkly humorous fantasy tales about a series of men whose worlds fall apart through a visit from an unexpected stranger.

Set to an original, synth score featuring ‘80s electronica, Undergods journeys through disparate eras and realities fusing failed 20th Century utopias and 21st Century Ikea nightmares. An unsettlingly entertaining, singular visual feast, Undergods features a standout, pan European cast that includes Kate Dickie (The Witch), Ned Dennehy (Mandy), Geza Rohrig (Son of Saul), Adrian Rawlins (“Chernobyl”) and an especially crazed Jan Bijvoet (Borgman).”

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“It’s almost inevitable that films like this will have parts that are stronger than others and the segment concerning Hans does, indeed, feel like a bedtime story, over-familiar even in its discomfort, that could easily have been jettisoned in favour of the much stronger book-ends. Moya has assembled a cast that packs a punch, however, and his stars elevate the cracked emotions on display until you feel shattered too.” Eye for Film

“Though less explicitly divided and more consistent than many portmanteau films, Undergods nevertheless suffers from some of the familiar issues that crop up in them. There is more consistency to the tone here, but the middle story feels disconnected from the rest of the sequences […] Even if it doesn’t entirely come together, there is more than enough here.” HeyUGuys

“If nothing else, Undergods delivers a withering indictment of Brutalist architecture. The crumbling dystopian cityscapes are truly awesome to behold. Unfortunately, all the great world-building is done on the visual level. There are things going on that could have been fascinating if Moya more fully explored them, but instead, we get too much underwhelming domestic drama.” J.B. Spins

“It’s effective, but at the point about ordinary blokes not noticing the chaos closing in until it’s too late is made over and over and is less interesting than the textures of these worlds, which are all different but all horrible, and the small, cringe-making details observed as glum folk trudge to doom.  Moya casts a remarkable number of pockmarked faces and toothy rictus grins but also finds perfect brutalist concrete locations.” The Kim Newman Web Site

“Deliberately opaque and obtuse, Moya’s film is a morality play about society and the family unit. It’s a film where the characters are as important as the dystopian setting and where the science fiction aspect to the film is more about window dressing than plot […] A strong feature debut from writer-director Chino Moya, there’s much to recommend in Undergods…” Movies in Focus

” …Moya brings a bleak absurdism to his apocalyptic explorations of the human condition. For while all these oneiric stories, and stories-within-stories, may show familial and societal breakdown ‘in another world’ (or other worlds), they also reflect, en abyme, a broader entropy in our own.” Projected Figures

“Even if some may find Undergods confusing or non-committal there is no denying that Moya wrangled together a terrific cast, gleamed terrific performances from all of them, and set it against a backdrop that sometimes made our jaws drop. We found it easy to get caught up in its dystopian spell.” Screen Anarchy

“Even though we don’t know what led to the world being the way it is in Undergods, the sense of trying to make sense of it, and struggling to do so, is something shared with the characters. This is not a film you watch for entertainment purposes, although there are some dark laughs to be had but to reflect on our world through a reflection of how it feels, which is what Moya has done so effectively here.” Sonic Cinema

Undergods leaves you with more questions than answers, but it also leaves you with that warm, satisfying feeling that you’ve just watched something singular. Its strange, compelling vision feels like the work of someone with a clear vision, clear at least to themselves if not the rest of us.” Tilt Magazine

Release:

Undergods had its world premiere at the virtual Fantasia International Film Festival on August 30, 2020.

Cast and characters:

Johann Myers … K
Géza Röhrig … Z
Michael Gould … Ron
Hayley Carmichael … Ruth
Ned Dennehy … Harry
Khalid Abdalla … Octavius
Eric Godon … Hans
Tanya Reynolds … Maria
Tadhg Murphy … Johann
Jan Bijvoet … The Foreigner
Kate Dickie … Rachel
Sam Louwyck … Sam
Adrian Rawlins … Dominic
Slavko Labovic … The Appraiser
Jonathan Case … Will

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