Directed by Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, ‘Something in the Dirt’ follows Levi Danube, a bartender who recently moved to a Los Angeles apartment complex. Levi meets John Daniels, a freelance wedding photographer who helps the former settle in his new apartment. Their life takes a wild turn when both of them start to notice supernatural occurrences happening in Levi’s apartment. Starring Moorhead as Daniels and Benson as Levi, the science-fiction horror film progresses through the two neighbor’s attempts to unravel the mystery behind the strange happenings. The film ends with several questions unanswered and a startling narrative development. If you are finding it hard to make sense of the same, let us help you! SPOILERS AHEAD.
Something in the Dirt Plot Synopsis
‘Something in the Dirt’ begins with John and Levi getting acquainted with each other. John lets Levi use some of the furniture pieces his ex-boyfriend has used and helps him arrange the same in the new apartment. After arranging the pieces, John sets out to leave the apartment, only to witness a crystal ashtray floating up in the air while producing a distinct light and a triangle symbol on the wall. Levi witnesses the same and the two neighbors consider the occurrence as proof of the existence of paranormal entities. They decide to film the occurrence to make a documentary that can be sold to Netflix.
Meanwhile, John comes to know that Levi is a registered sex offender. Levi clears the confusion by revealing that he was arrested for peeing on the wall of a daycare center without knowing about the establishment. As they discuss their plans, several birds crash on John’s window and die. John and Levi start filming and the occurrence starts to repeat. John recognizes the triangle symbol the crystal ashtray produce as the one he has noticed in a book, titled ‘Geometry of Magnetism,’ which he had as a child. In addition, the two of them also start noticing Levi’s closet brightening up without any light source with camera equipment floating like the crystal ashtray.
After noticing the developments that happen in the closet, Levi and John start to wonder whether the occurrences that have been happening in the apartment can be explained by science. After witnessing the happenings in Levi’s closet, John theorizes that it is a gateway to another dimension. As per John, aliens most likely had created life on Earth and they have been waiting for human beings to completely evolve. According to his beliefs, aliens realize that humans have evolved as much as they can, which makes them contact the humans through Levi’s closet. Their investigation into the strange occurrences leads them to a set of tapes.
John finds out that the tapes belong to the planner of Los Angeles. He notices that one of the tapes is numbered “1908,” the same number which is tattooed on Levi’s fingers. The number appears again in their lives when the radio gets tuned to the frequency of the number. John also proposes that the occurrences they have been encountering are connected to a cult named the Pythagoreans Brotherhood. The two neighbors also discover a quartz deposit in the closet, which produces a symphony on its own. John’s curiosity concerning the happenings increases but Levi starts to believe that they are reaching nowhere. He finally decides to leave the place for good.
Something in the Dirt Ending: What Happens in Levi’s Apartment?
When John and Levi notice the floating crystal ashtray and the closet with light without any light source, they initially theorize that they are evidence of paranormal entities. As their investigation progresses, they change their opinion and theorize that there is a scientific explanation behind the same. However, John not only never reveals the explanation but also he doesn’t even have any clue about what really happens in his neighbor’s apartment. He is as clueless as the viewers. None of the specialists who become a part of his documentary is able to explain the phenomenon as well.
Since the film ends without the explanation behind its central mystery, it is evident that ‘Something in the Dirt’ is much more than the ambiguity that revolves around the crystal ashtray and the light-filled closet. Moorhead and Benson’s film is an allegory about the “conspiracy culture” of our times rather than just a sci-fi film that focuses on unbelievable happenings that occur in Levi’s apartment. The crystal ashtray and closet are just tools the two directors use to conceive the allegory about how conspiracies and theories have been plaguing the realm of knowledge of our times.
Ever since the introduction and growth of social media platforms, streaming platforms, vlogs, podcasts, etc. content based on conspiracies and unsolved mysteries has been conceived immensely. A large part of the content doesn’t even have any scientific foundation or logical reasoning. Whether it be the docuseries on the prominent streaming giants or popular podcasts that revolve around the same, these contents take advantage of the viewers’ curiosity regarding the inexplicable. ‘Something in the Dirt’ is nothing other than a critique of the same. Neither John nor Levi is bothered about the explanation behind the occurrences they witness as long as they can earn ten million or more by selling their documentary to Netflix.
At the end of the film, when an interviewer asks John to explain the phenomenon he and Levi have witnessed, he doesn’t care to answer the same. After offering an incomprehensible answer, he shamelessly poses for a photograph in front of the mysterious closet, possibly to use it for the promotional purposes of his documentary. And that’s what John cares about: the money and popularity he is gaining even when he cannot explain his own theories. When his hard drives get burned, John even fabricates the visuals using special effects to deceive his potential viewers. As long as he can gain profit from his product, John doesn’t care about the deception he is performing by using special effects.
Ever since witnessing the mysterious occurrences, John proposes several theories to explain the same. He starts with the presence of paranormal entities and then changes his theory to aliens contacting him and Levi. He also considers the involvement of religious power, secret cults, etc. while trying to explain the occurrences. John never considers that a freelance wedding photographer, who doesn’t have any knowledge of advanced science, shouldn’t create conspiracies without any proof to back his arguments. Through his actions, the film exposes several such pseudo-scientists who try to explain complex science-related affairs without any background knowledge of the subject.
Moorhead and Benson’s creation is ultimately a meta film. By using the same title, ‘Something in the Dirt,’ for their movie and the documentary in the fictional narrative of the movie, the directors make it clear that the viewers shouldn’t be bothered about the explanation behind the (fictional) occurrences that are captured in the documentary. By choosing to not explain the reasons behind the crystal ashtray and closet, Moorhead and Benson succeed in limiting the focus to John’s actions, which connects the film to the reality it is critiquing.
How Does Levi Die?
At the end of the film, John’s theory of zero gravity becomes a reality as he and Levi start floating. Since John is in a room, he floats to the ceiling but Levi floats to the atmosphere from the balcony where he has been sitting. After rising for a long while, possibly even beyond the atmosphere, Levi falls to the ground and dies. Considering that natural zero gravity on the Earth is an impossibility, Levi’s death means much more than what we see happening to him. Levi represents countless adventurous real-life individuals who risked their lives to explain the inexplicable, immersing themselves in conspiracies and speculations, to earn fame and money.
Ever since believing John’s theories, Levi’s life has become a subject of a gradual downfall. He gets tempted by the money they would earn if they manage to sell their documentary to a streaming giant like Netflix. In addition, the fame he would earn as part of the same motivates him to be involved in the affair more than ever. John and Levi try to become famous, even if it means dying. When John realizes that Levi’s cactus plant has fruit, he doesn’t hesitate to eat it. John lets Levi know that dying by eating an alien fruit is much better than leading a mundane life. John choosing death and fame (of becoming the first victim of an alien edible) is further a critique of how greed to become famous is prevalent in our times.
Unfortunately, instead of John, Levi dies. Levi’s death can be conceived to show how John may use it to promote their documentary, which will enable him to make more money. At the end of the film, rather than a person who lost his friend, we see a person who is about to step into the realm of fame and money in John. Levi has always tried to put an end to their investigation and leave Los Angeles to start a new life. However, John stops and manipulates him every time to have Levi as a part of his documentary. In a way, John’s greed kills Levi rather than the non-existent zero gravity.
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