Man Underground: A Review
by Luce Allan
Fact and fiction meld into an atmospheric mystery in Man Underground (2016), which focuses on Willem, an ex-government employee, and his post-termination quest to expose the government's knowledge of alien activity. Frustrated by the limited audience that he has drawn through his lectures and YouTube videos, Willem turns to his longtime friend, Todd, who suggests that they produce a semi-autobiographical film in order to capture Willem's message in a more marketable format. With the help of Flossie, a young local waitress and aspiring actress, Willem and Todd embark upon their most ambitious project yet, which tests the link between friendship and skepticism.
Although often billed as a horror film, Man Underground delivers few and brief moments of horror, which serves as both a benefit and detriment to a film. If the preconceived notion that the film fits within the horror genre is removed, Man Underground is a solid movie with several factors that comprise its merit. The performances of George Basil (Willem), Andy Rocco (Todd) and Pamela Fila (Flossie) are authentic and heartfelt, and the interaction between the well-rounded characters fleshes out refreshingly platonic friendships. The atmosphere of the film is rich and textured, paired with an intriguing plot that has one questioning the ultimate direction that the storyline is taking. The character development and the parallels between the main character's past and present provide layers of emotion, and the moments of humor blend well into the general seriousness of the film.
Whether or not Man Underground would be considered a horror film, its plot periodically stretches into slow moments that cause its momentum to falter. While the movie is imbued with a quiet charm, those looking for more excitement and action may be disappointed in the infrequency of these elements onscreen (which might have strengthened the film, had they been included).
Overall, Man Underground is a notable film that may be suited more for fans of the drama and science fiction genres than the horror genre, but is memorable regardless of any specified category.