Undergods (2020)

Undergods, Chino Moya’s disturbing first feature set in a dystopian future, premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival and is released now.

Future Shock

by Alexa Dalby


CAUTION: Here be spoilers

In a post-apocalyptic city in the near future, rendered in murky bluey-grey tones, a dilapidated truck tours the ruined streets between monolithic Eastern European apartment blocks and strange, ugly abstract monuments. It’s driven by two brutal, callous workmen: their work is unclear as yet.

In one unfinished new block, a stranger calls on an unsuspecting middle-aged couple, explaining that he had locked himself out of his flat. Elsewhere, a father tells his sleepy little daughter a bedtime story about a merchant in an unspecified near past who has a visit from an inventor. And in a foul factory-prison somewhere, an inmate is released.

Undergods is three weird horror stories that emerge out of the ruins of a dystopian society like a malignant fungus. The common theme is the havoc caused to apparently ordinary lives by unexpected visitors. Clever, disorientating Escher-like links take us seamlessly from one story to another. The battered truck and its rapacious crew reappears throughout, its terrible purpose gradually revealed.

The film creates a vividly realised world of the imagination – the drab present blends into a dimly lit Art Deco past and then back again to a harsh reality in the film’s flow. It’s bleakly Eastern European in feel, with a mix of Estonian, Swedish, Serbian and British actors and accents; as intriguing, suspenseful and intricately structured as a Guy Maddin’s The Forbidden Room. Director Chino Moya’s previous experience in creating unusual ads and music videos has resulted in a professional and highly promising feature debut that’s a grim, disturbing peek through the keyhole into the fantasy world of a nightmarish alternative future.

Undergods is released in selected cinemas and on demand in the UK on 17 May 2021. A limited-edition Blu-ray and vinyl soundtrack are also planned for later in the year. See a new clip below.

Undergods has its world premiere at the virtual Fantasia Film Festival 2020 on 30 August 2020. Following its world premiere at Fantasia last year, the film went on to celebrate its UK premiere at Glasgow Film Festival in February. Since then, Undergods has gone on to receive two British Independent Film Award (BIFA) nominations. https://fantasiafestival.com/

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