I just finished watching this little film on Netflix and I must say I did like it a lot. The Conspiracy loosely falls under the “found footage” genre, but is more accurately a mockumentary. A couple film makers are doing a documentary about on-line conspiracy theories when they meet a local man named Terrance G. As they begin talking with him, they realize just how much the things he says makes a strange sort of logic. Interspersed with the interview footage of Terrance are news reports of events he’s talking about, as well as newspaper and magazine articles. Suddenly, Terrance disappears, and the two documentarians are left with the conundrum of what happened to him. Was he a paranoid schizophrenic, or are more nefarious forces at work?
There are slight spoilers ahead.
As Aaron and Jim search on-line, they eventually come across the website for the Tarsus Club (an expy for the real life Bohemian Grove) and a TIME magazine article that seems innocent enough about the Tarsus Club. Shortly after, they are soon contacted by the author of the article that says the publisher edited the original expose on the Tarsus Club into a PR stunt for them. He eventually agrees to meet with them and they discuss the supposed origins of the Tarsus Club and how it relates to Mithras, and how Mithras is the real inspiration for Jesus and Christianity. They believe him and do not provide any counter evidence on this point, so I’m not sure if the trope “did not do the research” is invoked in the universe of the film, or if the real filmmakers just didn’t know any better. Anyways, the author helps them get into one of the Tarsus Club meetings and the film goes down hill before digging itself out at the last second.
If you have a brain in your head, you know from a narrative standpoint a first-person story being told to you can not end with the characters death, so the convention they go to doesn’t hold any real danger. To it’s credit, the film subverts the normal “ritual sacrifice” routine in a rather hilarious way (at least to me), and it makes me think this whole film is a giant troll on conspiracy theorists. Take a look at the website for the Tarsus Club. Notice how Satan is up there at the top, and matches the one in the movie poster? It’s kind of a dead giveaway that the site is designed for viral marketing purposes, but unfortunately some people are so caught up in conspiracy theories that they feel this film is actually telling the truth in a hidden manner in only which they can decipher. Take a look at this.
Despite such thoughts others project onto The Conspiracy the film itself seems to be torn on it’s viewpoint. It shows how fear of secret societies and the New World Order have plausibility, but given they have to make up a secret society as a plot device, it’s hard to say if they believe in the conspiracy theories themselves. The film is scary and effective because there are plenty of conspiracy theories that are so well put together than you can almost see them as being real, such as Barbara Bush being the daughter of Aliester Crowley. It’s easy for someone to get caught up in this vast web of “hidden knowledge”. These things are fun to think about but if history has taught us anything it’s that when it comes to hiding stuff the government can’t do anything right, rending this all a moot point.