Undergods (2021)

Chino Moya

Running Time: 92 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Johann Myers, Géza Röhrig, Michael Gould, Hayley Carmichael, Ned Dennehy, Khalid Abdalla, Eric Godon, Tanya Reynolds, Tadhg Murphy, Jan Bijvoet, Kate Dickie, Sam Louwyck, Adrian Rawlings, Burn Gorman

In the opening moments, viewers see a foggy backdrop broken by a passing truck. Its occupants, K (Johann Myers) and Z (Géza Röhrig), roam the streets on the lookout for corpses, and something of more value - fresh meat. The first in a collection of tales, writer and director Chino Moya offers a wide look at this future society, and how people of different classes live within this dystopia. Each story flows into the next rather seamlessly, yet while they may be interconnected, there's no sense of a greater purpose amidst this anthology.

Numerous storylines are covered across the 92-minute runtime, including a couple whose lives are interrupted by a neighbour seeking help, the money-making schemes of a businessman getting on the wrong side of a visionary, and a family revisited by a face they haven't seen in a long while. There isn't enough time spent with the characters, offering little sense of who they are before their lives are thrown into disarray, and no way to connect with them. In spite of the cast's efforts, there's a clear lack of emotional engagement.

In regards to this world Chino Moya has created, it's best captured in the background. Aided by Wojciech Golczewski's tremendous score, this different reality is best sold through the set design, particularly in smaller ways. In spite of this, the various tales don't satisfyingly tie together by the end, feeling like short films ideas which were randomly put together. One gets the impression various ideas were thrown at the wall to see what sticks, and yet, all that remains is a feeling of disappointment.

Undergods will be available in UK cinemas & on Digital Download from 17th May. Pre-order here.