History of the Occult (2020)
December 8, 2022 10:27 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] Sixty Minutes Before Midnight, Argentina's most watched investigative journalism program is being taken off the air. The staff attempts to go out in a blaze of glory, exposing a conspiracy and linking the government to a obscure secret society.

Starring Héctor Ostrovsky, Nadia Lozano, Casper Uncal, Agustín Recondo, Iván Esquerre, Luciano Guglielmino.

The highest-rated narrative horror feature of 2020 on Letterboxd.

Currently streaming in the US on Screambox. Also (finally) popping up for digital rental in the US. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (8 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This is really something special: starts off like a classic 70's conspiracy/journalism story, then creeps into Lovecraftian territory.

This was made for almost no money. Jason Blumhouse should write Ponce a check for like $5MM to do it again, bigger.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:29 AM on December 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

oooh this sounds intriguing...
posted by supermedusa at 10:45 AM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

This sounds extremely like my thing, I'll need to hunt down a way to watch this in the UK.
posted by slimepuppy at 11:08 AM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've been awaiting an English dub or sub since hearing about it back when it came out and started getting buzz. Screambox is only $5/mo? Done.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:10 PM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Wow. The English subtitles are not particularly well translated, but it doesn’t matter. This isn’t a movie you watch for the dialogue or the plot, but for the vibes. And the paranoid, fever-dream vibes here are just chef’s-kiss perfect. I have absolutely no idea what happened in this movie, but damn was it fun to watch.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 9:02 PM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

As near as I can tell--and I do not introduce this to try and seem like I have the answers, only to start discussion--this is what happened:

The brujos in Kingdom Corporate (and their political arm, headed by Belasco) made some kind of unholy deal to split off the people of Buenos Aires into a pocket dimension, powered by some kind of Lovecraftian tentacled thing. This happened roughly four years ago. This allowed them to rule essentially unchecked. To do this, certain sacrifices were required, either directly as offerings or as collateral damage to keep the lie going (not sure which). Children were offered up.

(Side note: the idea of people being "disappeared" has to be extra resonant with Argentinians, considering... you know.)

There were limitations on this pocket dimension, at least at the end as it was losing power, and maybe the whole time. Life was in black & white. The dimension was set up with a time period that looked circa 1972-1982, even though the people who made the deal did so in our time, give or take. This is clear because Mercato both owned an iPhone and had a copy of Things We Lost in the Fire, a bestseller from 2016.

At some recent point, the supporting entity began to run out of energy. (Maybe this is why things were B&W, maybe they were always that way.) This made for cracks appearing, like the guy whose life was erased but not his body. Color started to bleed through. The secrets of this world were not as effectively protected. "The future is over" at this point, and though the secret society is trying to protect their setup, Mercato sees that this is all ending.

At the end, Mercato is looking for his out, as he does not want to go down with the collapsing pocket dimension. This seems to be achieved by having our group find and deliver his iPhone, through which he contacts the real world and has his daughter (who does exist!) retrieve some kind of code word, which seems to extract him, but in doing so, also shatters the walls around the pocket dimension, demonstrated by the appearance of color. Is it going to be sucked back to the real world or is that causing it to self-destruct? I'm not sure.

One of the things I really really like about this film, is how the journalists are in a position to find out some things about what is going on, but are so fundamentally in the dark and in such a fundamentally disadvantaged position, that they are still off to the side and not at a vantage to ever truly understand.

It's both a brilliant way to set up up a low budget film about earth-shattering stuff and a resonant way to portray the feeling of being helpless against forces and conspiracies you will never truly be privy to or fully understand.

I think this film is absolutely brilliant. HUGE FAN.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:29 AM on December 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

How the actual mystical warlock stuff works seems less important than this:

The movie is about an Argentina where a conspiracy of elites has isolated the country from the rest of the world, trapped it in the past, and caused their people to be regularly "disappeared."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:37 AM on December 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

Ooh! This is also now free on Hoopla.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:55 AM on December 9, 2022

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