The Conspiracy (2012) Movie Review - Found Footage Suggested by Reddit

Horror, Thriller, Mockumentary, Found Footage | 84 Min
Cover from found footage horror mockumentary The Conspiracy (2012)
  • Director: Christopher MacBride
  • Actors: Aaron Poole, James Gilbert, A.C. Peterson, Peter Apostolopoulos, Angela Besharah
  • Writers: Christopher MacBride
  • Producers: Lee Kim
  • Country: Canada
  • Language: English
  • Parental: Peril, Violence, Language
  • Horror, Thriller, Mockumentary, Found Footage | 84 Min

A documentary about conspiracy theories takes a horrific turn after the filmmakers uncover an ancient and dangerous secret society.

Welcome to Knockout Horror and to another entry in our Found Footage Suggested by Reddit series. For those of you who don’t know. We have been checking out horror movies discussed by Reddit’s fairly active Found Footage community. Today we are taking a look at 2012’s The Conspiracy. 

Things are split pretty evenly right now as far as good to bad movies go. We just finished reviewing Horror in the High Desert and Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva. Whereas the first movie was pretty watchable, the second, in my opinion, really drops the ball. Will today’s movie tip things back in the favour of good? Let’s take a look.

An Easy Choice

The Conspiracy was only just mentioned on the Found Footage subreddit. Coincidentally, I actually checked it out last year while putting together a list of 25 Found Footage Movies You May Have Missed. I like to make sure I am up to date on the movies I recommend in lists so figured I would check it out and put together a review. Naturally, I completely forgot to actually write a review so here we are. What better time than now?

A screenshot from found footage horror mockumentary The Conspiracy (2012)

The story follows a pair of filmmakers, Aaron (Aaron Poole) and Jim (James Gilbert), who decide to make a documentary after seeing a conspiracy theorist being viciously mocked by people online. Heading to New York to interview the man. Aaron becomes fascinated with the conspiracies presented and the depth of research that the man has conducted. When the conspiracy theorist mysteriously disappears. Aaron and Jim find themselves digging deeper into the seedy underworld in search of the truth.

A Different Take on Found Footage

The conspiracy theory community is pretty huge and it goes way beyond people simply screaming about 5G and vaccines. There are theories associated with almost everything. Be it the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain being a murder orchestrated by his wife. To the CIA using mind control to force Mark Chapman to murder John Lennon.

And that’s without mentioning the one that claims Avril Lavigne was replaced by a double after dying in the early 2000s and Justin Bieber is a reptile. There are theories about everything. No matter how ridiculous. This is a subject ripe for the picking when it comes to horror and found footage.

A screenshot from found footage horror mockumentary The Conspiracy (2012)

This movie came about after director Christopher MacBride found himself immersed in the world of conspiracy theories. A friend introduced him to some of the more well known examples and MacBride was hooked. Like all good artists and filmmakers; rather than becoming completely obsessed and lining his walls with tin foil and newspaper clippings. MacBride realised there was money to be made and a story to be told. 

Instead of putting together a fairly run of the mill Found Footage movie. MacBride opted for a more tailored mockumentary format. Whereas most mockumentaries focus entirely on the movie’s fictional subject and present it as if it is truth. MacBride blurs the lines between fiction and truth by combining real life footage, actual conspiracies and members of the conspiracy community with actors while telling a completely fictional tale.

A Very Effective Approach

The footage presented here consists of undercover filming, filming inside of Aaron and Jim’s houses and interviews with figures from the conspiracy community. We see the pair’s initial interest in the subject at hand slowly evolve before Aaron becomes completely obsessed. This leads to an increasingly difficult home life and a heightened sense of paranoia. Jim plays the sceptic to keep things balanced but the unusual things the pair experience keep him consistently questioning his beliefs.

A screenshot from found footage horror mockumentary The Conspiracy (2012)

While movies like Caviar completely fail at doing the exact same thing. The Conspiracy succeeds. MacBride has managed to take the slippery slope of delusion experienced by conspiracy theorists and turn it into an incredibly effective, and quite unsettling, movie. It feels as close to real life as you can get when using the mockumentary format. The lines are incredibly blurred and the story presented here is actually quite believable. 

Maybe a Little Too Close to Real Life?

You could make the argument that it is, actually, a little too close to real life. With the prevailing mystery, at the heart of the movie, being inspired by a well known conspiracy theory. One that will be instantly recognisable to anyone who has shared even a cup of tea with the conspiracy theorist community. 

The Conspiracy basically takes said concept and pushes it to its most far fetched and exaggerated extremes. Making for a movie with a story that seems ridiculous at its heart but plausible enough to believe in. Much like the conspiracy theories that formed the inspiration for the movie itself. It’s fascinating stuff and well executed throughout.

Still Works in 2024

Something else that MacBride really manages to succeed in is capturing that very specific, post 9/11, paranoia and suspicion that was so prevalent in the 2000s and 2010s. Hell, it is still around today. But The Conspiracy perfectly taps into that obsession so many had with documentaries like Fahrenheit 9/11 and the unease people felt with both government and those at the top.

A screenshot from found footage horror mockumentary The Conspiracy (2012)

People stopped trusting those in charge and conspiracy theories exploded. The internet became a lawless breeding ground for a burgeoning community of people who refused to believe everything they were told. The Conspiracy has its finger right on the pulse of this. Things haven’t changed all that much in the years since. People may be more paranoid than ever. A fact which keeps The Conspiracy extremely relevant 12 years later.

On the negative side, my fiancée found the movie to be fairly slow. Full disclosure, she actually fell asleep. One of the many perils of watching horror in bed late at night. I think the ending is a little underwhelming but there is plenty of tension packed into those final 10 minutes. Anyone who knows anything about popular conspiracy theories is going to know exactly what much of the movie’s story is based on, as well. Meaning some of the plot is less than original. The Conspiracy can be rather easy to predict, in parts, as well.

Should You Watch The Conspiracy?

If you are looking for a Found Footage horror movie that does things completely differently, you should definitely watch The Conspiracy. It’s one of those found footage movies that stands out for how unique its approach feels. Much like the excellent Butterfly Kisses. It is presented in a genuinely believable manner and perfectly captures the paranoia and obsession attributed to the conspiracy theory community. All while offering up a tense and effective story that feels different to most other horror movies around. awesome stuff.

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