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Something in the Dirt

Entry updated 16 August 2022. Tagged: Film.

Film (2017). Rustic Films. Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. Written by Justin Benson. Cast includes Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. 116 minutes. Colour.

In a contemporary Los Angeles (see California) afflicted by unspecified Disasters, a pair of down-on-their-luck neighbours are startled to witness a levitating ashtray in one of their apartments. When the phenomenon repeats, the pair decide to use this evidence of the supernatural for a documentary they can sell to Netflix. With incompetence and increasing Paranoia, the men thus begin an investigation into the Antigravity, earthquakes and possible Dimensional portal localized in their living room.

At the same time as they were finding commercial success as directors for the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Moon Knight (2022-current), Benson and Moorhead returned to their roots with this low-budget two-hander about friendship, filmmaking, and the unexplained. The characters namecheck The X-Files (1993-2002; 2016-2018), and like that classic series, Something in the Dirt offers more spooky phenomena and character banter than it does answers. However, typically for Benson and Moorhead, the film does reward viewers with a haunting image – this time of a man falling upwards towards the Moon.

Something in the Dirt was Benson and Moorhead's Covid-19 lockdown project. The movie was filmed in their own apartments and, bar a few fleeting cameos, the pair are the only actors on screen. The result is a minor piece, but the title card over the end credits, “dedicated to making movies with your friends” sums up the good-natured larks of the enterprise. [JN]


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