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Review: Something In The Dirt – “A mind-blowing and melting masterpiece”

This review was first posted as part of our FrightFest coverage.

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead are my guys. I love Spring and The Endless, and, after directing eps of some of the year’s coolest telly – Archive 81 and Moon Knight – the boys were back, and excitingly in-person with their latest film: Something in the Dirt.

Written by just Justin Benson, but directed by and starring both Justin and Aaron Moorehead, Something in the Dirt sees two LA slackers discover evidence of the supernatural in their apartment and set about documenting it for fortune and glory.

This being a Benson and Moorehead joint though, things aren’t that simple, and, as Levi (Benson) and John (Moorehead) go about making their documentary about what force or forces could be at play in their flat, they discover more about each other (not all good), fall down a paranoid conspiracy wormhole, and their film within the film takes an unexpected turn too…

Benson and Moorehead still have the charming chemistry that made The Endless work so well but are clearly pushing themselves harder and further in terms of character work here. Levi and John have plenty of secrets to spill and as events unfold, corkscrew and fold in on themselves in mind-boggling ways, Benson and Moorehead manage to keep their leads likeable and on a steady throughline. This keeps the film comprehensible and the events addictive and delectable, even when our leads begin to seem not entirely trustworthy.

Shot during lockdown, the smaller scale and less-polished look lends this intoxicating mystery a real immediacy, accentuated by clever and playful dialogue that is nonchalantly cool to the point of seeming improvised but then proven later on to all be carefully thought through and put together for maximum pay-off. It is hard work to make a film as dense, complex, and brilliant as this seem off-the-cuff, but Benson and Moorehead specialise in this laidback genius and have truly smashed it with Something in the Dirt.

A mind-blowing and melting masterpiece, Something in the Dirt is savvy, satisfying, disorientating, dizzying, paranoia-inducing and like nothing else. Benson and Moorhead are special ones and they keep making special ones.

Something In The Dirt will be in UK Cinemas from 4th November and on Digital Download + Blu-ray from 5th December.

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  1. The the fuck is a melting masterliece ???

    • A brain fart comment.

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