If you haven’t seen Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s The Endless (2017) or Synchronic (2019), let me start by suggesting that you do. Their new film is smaller in scale, as it is mostly just the two guys in a room – but the ideas in it are as large as ever. Moorhead and Benson are endlessly inventive, and they aren’t afraid to tackle emotional subjects.
Levi (Benson) has moved into a new apartment and meets his neighbor John (Moorhead), who he asks to bum a cigarette from. John offers Levi some extra furniture, and while helping move it into the empty apartment, observes a weird phenomenon that seems to be supernatural. The pair decide documenting the events could inject some fame and meaning into their otherwise pointless lives.
One aspect of the film that I found endlessly compelling was never knowing if we could trust John or Levi completely. The talking heads who are experts on the various theories the guys are bantering about as a part of the “documentary” John and Levi are making help cast more of a shadow of a doubt on the two – especially John, who seems to jump to some pretty wild conclusions.
I really enjoyed the performances of both actors. The characters feel very lived-in, and the uneasy alliance that initially seems like friendship is tested time and time again. It becomes clear that each man has a different reason for pursuing the supernatural phenomenon, and sometimes those agendas are in stark contrast with one another. I enjoyed watching the awkward and often uncomfortable back-and-forths between characters, as they realize how little they actually know about each other.
These directors have demonstrated some very innovative visuals, and this film is no exception. The supernatural elements of the film are initially alluded to but eventually, take center stage. They look very cool and add a major impact to the story. Of course, the question of authenticity is at the center of so much of the film that it’s hard to know if what we are seeing really happened. Still, all the visuals and effects truly help sell the story and add tons of intrigue.
I’m clearly a fan of these two, and I look forward to their future projects. They are extremely creative and innovative with their stories and filmmaking. Something in the Dirt offers much to consider and is a great example of how the medium can be used to explore a variety of ideas. For me, it’s easy to say the film earns the Must See rating.