During the strongest stage of the pandemic, with a large part of the population confined to their homes, several films were produced that tried to reflect the situation that society was experiencing since the incursion of the coronavirus into our lives. In my mind there are two films linked to this particularity, ‘Host’ e ‘Immune’, which are perfect to talk about the subject for being a good and a bad example. Rob Savage’s film only uses COVID-19 as a backdrop, as a resource so that it makes sense that the entire film is a Zoom meeting, it does not focus its efforts on taking advantage of the consequences of the virus. ‘Immune’ it is quite the opposite, it focuses on a post-apocalyptic world due to the spread of the virus with a very cheap romance as the central plot, trying to generate curiosity in the viewer for morbidity.

‘In the Earth’, the new film by Ben Wheatley, was also shot in full quarantine, and is a midpoint between the two productions that I mentioned before. It explores the consequences and makes it the central part of its script, but it does not forget its status as a genre film.

The first thing that stands out is (taking into account the lack of resources suffered by the film crew and all the complications that shooting in full confinement can lead to) how good it looks. At no time do you notice that it was made in those conditions and that is the best that can be said in these cases. Years will pass and no one will remember her as “the movie that was shot during the global lockdown” but if how “one of the first films to explore the consequences of the pandemic in an interesting way. The virus is already established in society, there are some precautionary protocols (PCRs, dehygenization, safety distance, etc.) and it is not an element used in a dramatic or dramatic way, it is simply part of the setting. What Ben Wheatley is trying to do is reflect extreme cases of people obsessed with what happened, people who have been mentally affected and are no longer the same.

This is not the case of the protagonists, a man and a woman who go to the forest in search of some companions who have not shown signs of life for days. A very simple premise that gives rise to using this scenario as they used it in ‘The Blair Witch Project’, a peaceful place to start, but terrifying and mentally devastating as the days go by. He is one more character, who plays with the characters and with the viewer, gaining relevance as the minutes go by. Clint Mansell’s poignant BSO helps to suggest the public and submerge it in that organic prison that ends up being the forest. It has a very marked folk horror quality, nothing similar to ??The Wicker Man’ but if to what has been done for a few years as ‘Midsummer’ The ‘The Ritual’. The point of difference between these and ‘In the Earth’ is that Ben Wheatley takes it one step further, leaving a path of hallucinogenic scenes to culminate in absolutely delirious last minutes where Clint Mansell puts all the meat on the grill and transforms into experimental/sensorial cinema, exploring the relationship of being human with nature. An audiovisual recital.

The most incredible thing is that it is capable of doing that (a characteristic closely linked to what is understood today as high horror cinema) without denying its genre, having several funny and bloody moments bordering on series B. That’s where Ben Wheatley shows no shame in being a genre filmmaker and that’s what makes this offering so interesting.

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