Title – Something in the Dirt (2022)
Directors – Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead (Spring)
Cast – Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson
Plot – Los Angeles neighbours John (Moorhead) and Levi (Benson) discover something strange is happening in their apartment building and set out to capture what may just be their chance to prove the supernatural does indeed exist.
“We’re going to try prove the supernatural”
Review by Eddie on 17/05/2023
As a big fan of directors, writers, actors and all round filmmaker go-getters Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, I am convinced that one day the collaborative duo are going to deliver a feature film that makes them household names, with their latest effort Something in the Dirt not that film unfortunately.
Clearly identified within the industry as filmmakers on the up, with Marvel trusting the team with helming some of the recent Moon Knight season 1 episodes and the upcoming Loki season 2, Moorhead and Benson’s bread and butter so far in an intriguing early career is cosmic horror and sci-fi with Dirt having similar DNA to their previous features which include the impressive and underseen Spring, the well-liked cult sci-fi The Endless and the interesting but sadly disappointing Anthony Mackie starring Synchronic.
Giving both Moorhead and Benson time in front of the camera as well as behind it, here playing John Daniels and Levi Danube respectively, Dirt see’s the two all-rounders playing no hoper LA neighbours who find their chance to make something of their lives appearing out of nowhere when strange seemingly unexplainable happenings take place in Levi’s apartment that lead the two newly formed friends creating an alliance of sorts to document what is happening, moving them forward on a journey that could be dangerous to their very mindsets.
Mixing in horror elements that are overshadowed by more prominent sci-fi angles, buddy comedy moments and most disappointingly documentary stylings that feel like an afterthought that ads very little to the overall grand scheme of things, Dirt is a typically ambitious outing from Moorhead and Benson but arguably one of their more disappointing overall efforts that struggles to maintain and initially intriguing early stretch and idea that is increasingly light on wins as the two hour runtime of the film wears on.
The chemistry between the real life friends on camera is a major win for the film with the back and forth between John and Levi one of the films strongest elements and as their work together pulls their uneasy friendship further apart, Moorhead and Benson are up for the challenge as performers with both their characters not the kind of likeable and memorable characters the best of these type of films have front and centre but two characters that feel real and relatable as they find themselves in over their heads.
With so many elements and different components to explore it’s a shame so much of Dirt feels bloated and unneeded and outside of the odd decision to frame parts of the film in a documentary style experience the biggest let down for all the plodding and dancing around answers comes from the fact by the film gets to its end game, it feels like Dirt is more of a film with the ideas and not the end game to make it all tie together with Benson and Moorhead capable of a much more rounded package that packs originality in with conclusions and answers to boot.
Final Say –
With much of their careers still waiting to be explored it’s likely that Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson have much stronger films to come with Something in the Dirt a film with moments but far too many misses to call a success.
2 levitating objects out of 5
I liked it a moment more but I don’t think it’s their strongest, that’s fair. I just like that they get t make these weird things!
I am sure one day the duo are going to make something that just takes over the film world ha. I liked ideas in this film but found the execution and plot let it down overall. Still excited to see what they do next.
That’s fair mate but yeah, hope so! They did some Moon Knight eps, and you can tell 👏