Gaia: Keep Those Mushrooms Away From Me

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

It is nice to see the horror genre become more diverse with us now seeing films like this wherein we get to see more of an African influence. This film’s horror is eco centric, and its messages are clear and chilling.

We are never really clear what is going on, or what sort of state the world outside this jungle is in, but the implications we hear throughout dialogue over the course of the film doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Moreover, this film imagines the battle for climate survival, that we are currently fighting, as more of a literally war between two sides: the Old Gods of nature and the industrially demanding modern human.

The monsters of this film will be familiar to anyone who has ever played The Last Of Us before. The film manages to have its monsters feel and look very real which adds to their menace, moreover, the virus we know they spread makes every confrontation with them even more tense and thrilling.

However, where the film starts to let itself down is with the human characters, who never truly feel realised and there are a lot of odd or missing details about these characters that makes their story hard to understand. I understand the desire for ambiguity, but I also refuse to believe that the rangers would not have been aware that there was something going on in the woods prior to going on the survey. In short the plot holes and contrivances hold this films narrative back.

Adding to the description of this films horror as eco centric, I would say it does not feel scary rather disgusting and skin crawling. This film taps into the fear of eggs under your skin or worms burrowing inside you that words fail to describe but it does elicit a physical response.

Overall, though not entirely scary it does make you feel uncomfortable and the acting across the board is quite strong.

Pros.

The African influence on the horror

Tapping into a skin-crawling sense of fear  

The acting

The design of the creatures

Cons.

Pacing issues

Plot holes and narratives fumbles

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