Bizarre, eerie, and violent are some of the words that could be used to describe the trailer for the upcoming horror thriller, Gaia. Sharp music accompanies creatively shot scenes of the forest to create an atmosphere of seclusion and fear. Supernatural creatures are glimpsed. Plants and fungi are moving around very maliciously. This would not be the kind of forest you’d picnic in.
A park ranger goes deep into the woods and discovers two feral men living on their own. The father and son have a unique connection to the forest and even fear it. Their relationship to the woods seems religious and will surely lead to some scary encounters. A creature can be seen momentarily. It looks large, menacing, and almost fungi-like. It could be Groot’s evil cousin.
Brought to us by Decal and filmed in the Tsitsikamma forest in South Africa, Gaia, stars Monique Rockman, Carel Nel, and Alex van Dyke. Though relatively unknown, the cast seems competent and it appears they will add nicely to the frightening occurrences happening all around them.
Monique Rockman takes the lead as the lost park ranger. Her innocent eyes will most likely have audiences sympathetic to her bloody and violent experiences as she struggles to survive. The men look like they could pose a threat, as it appears, they have unusual customs and strange rituals. They look unkempt and rugged, like mean hippies. I would not ask these guys for trail mix.
They look more likely to shoot you in the head with an arrow. Nonetheless, it looks like everyone in this film is afraid of the sentient plant-life. Vines curl and reach for victims as mushrooms sprout spritely. Is it a conscious forest? Is there a deity, nymph, or forest creature making the plants move aggressively? Will our heroine make it out alive? It looks like director, Jaco Bouwer, has some mind-altering visuals in store for movie-goers. It will be interesting to see how Bouwer uses the camera in order to add tension and fear to the film. There are so many questions that need answers and audiences will find out soon enough for themselves the mysteries held within GAIA.
The trailer had reminiscent tones of Midsommar as the camera wove around lush landscapes. The inverted shots gave us an unsettling feeling as if to let us know that this story is wrong from the start. The pacing of the trailer reminded me of Hereditary with unsettling moments of time appearing to be drawn out uncomfortably. Gaia is already gaining high praise from audiences and critics alike. It was an official selection and winner for the 2021 SXSW film festival. It also has 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.1/10 on IMDb. It would appear Gaia may have what it takes to satisfy our summer horror cravings.
Gaia will hit American theaters on June 18, 2021. The film is rated R for nudity, language, bloody images, sexual content, and some violence. All of that sounds like a great time to me. With any luck, GAIA, will scare horror movie fans out of the woods and back into theaters.