Two rangers are on a journey through a thick forest in search of the camera equipment they've left attached to multiple trees to review the area. Shortly after they uncover that the cameras have been sabotaged by people, one of the rangers is wounded and abducted/salvaged by the people in the forest.
But there's a darker secret lurking in the forest. One that hunts by sound and contaminates people in a very distinctive way. It takes over your mind and consumes your body.
One part eco-horror and one part body-horror, this film offers a lot of bizarre imagery and psychedelic images. The people of the forest begin to show the wounded ranger what they know is alive in the woods and it takes quite some encouragement to convince them. There's a fungus that produces spores that latch onto living hosts, and it is hungry for a sacrifice. And we get to join them on this step-by-step escapade of enlightenment.
This film is almost like a sister-film to Ben Wheatley's "In The Earth", but whereas Wheatley's film placed an emphasis on the science of understanding these deities, this one harkens on faith and an argument against technological advancement. While the philosophies are debatable, there's still enough to justify the actions being shown on the screen - and ultimately, I feel that hits the mark.
It's a very slow burn film with a few psyche-out scenes occurring about every 15 minutes or so, but what's in here is potent. It'll hypnotize and possess you and motivate you to sacrifice all that you love.
"Gaia" is currently streaming on Vudu.
'Til Next Time, Mike Cleopatra