When was the last time you communed with nature? Well for park rangers Gabi (Monique Rockman) and Winston (Anthony Oseyemi) in the South African film Gaia the answer doesn’t seem so cut and dry. You’d think park rangers would feel at home in a primordial forest, one with nature, but in a place that is supposed to be untouched by humans, they look completely uneasy. Gabi meets two survivalists, Barend (Carel Nel) and his son Stefan (Alex van Dyk), who possess a far more extreme spiritual view of their habitat, suggesting God lives among them. One that may suggest creatures are stirring in the forest surrounding them.
The trailer offers hints and clues into the film’s main premise, which looks to be that the park rangers discover an ineffable disease primed to wipe out mankind through the growing of fungi over the bodies of its cast. We also see Winston in some sort of suspended reality state, bound against a large, perhaps symbolic, Lars Von Trier Antichrist type of tree and, if I add all of the imagery of something exiting the lake with Gabi’s transformation from park ranger to an embedded huntress, the trailer has me wondering; what else might be out there?
Gaia looks like a creepy good time. An eco-horror picture about how mother nature seeks to get even with the greediness of man and their crimes against her. Director Jaco Bouwer and writer Tertius Kapp, who had previously worked together on the teen slasher film Rage, hope to scare you into becoming a better ally to the planet before it weaponizes itself against us.
Being that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, that premise may not be such an out-there theory. The film could be basing its monsters off the parasitic spores of Cordyceps. Cordyceps are a fungus that can replicate inside other organisms. The fungus grows out of the host’s brain releasing more spores and often killing scores of its targeted species. If this sounds at all familiar it’s because the idea of Cordyceps has been used for a while. Neil Druckman used this idea when creating his Clicker monsters in The Last of Us and Howard Gordon wrote The X-Files episode “Firewalker” on the same topic.
Gaia will premiere at SXSW 2021.
So what do you think of the trailer for Gaia? Do you agree with Sean that it looks like a great foreboding eco-horror picture? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re looking for more trailers we’ve got you covered!