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Thursday, July 21, 2022

‘Glorious’ Review – Single Location Genre-Bender Descends Into Cosmic Nightmare [Fantasia]

People often seek answers from God in times of strife and anguish. But what would happen if God physically answered? Perhaps the more pertinent question; which God heeded the call? Director Rebekah McKendry’s Glorious frames a single location genre-bender around these questions, creating a darkly comedic and bloody cosmic journey for a man trapped in a restroom.

Wes (Ryan Kwanten) is a complete mess after a breakup. He clings to the teddy bear his lost love gave him and aimlessly lives out of his car. The morning after a particularly rough emotional episode that left Wes drunkenly setting his pants ablaze at a rest stop, his hangover sends him scrambling for the restroom. Wes catches the notice of his stall neighbor (J.K. Simmons), sending them both on a bizarre, far direr, and vast journey that’ll make Wes realize his puny place in the universe.

McKendry, working from a script penned by Todd RigneyJoshua Hull, and David Ian McKendry, wields restraint in capturing an increasingly bizarre tale. There’s a simplicity to the setup. One man, an emotional wreck, gets stuck in a filthy restroom with an unseen stranger, locked away in a dark corner stall. It puts Kwanten at the forefront of a seemingly character-driven indie breakup feature that crumbles slowly, at first, then all at once into a weird Lovecraftian nightmare.

Details behind Wes’s breakup, or even life before his cosmic encounter, remain obscure. McKendry doles out just enough breadcrumbs through dialogue or flashbacks to eventually reveal Wes’s truth, connecting his past to his mortifying present. Still, it’s too thinly drawn to satisfy fully.

Parallel to the mysteries of Wes’s past is his present dilemma and what this stranger wants from him. What begins as a friendly yet awkward conversation among strangers transforms into a grim celestial quest. It’s here where Glorious cuts loose with its dark humor, ramping up the weirdness and Lovecraftian horror with brisk speed. For this, McKendry lets her delightfully demented sense of humor run wild. The punishment doled out to Wes wildly entertains, whether by embarrassing himself through social interactions or getting subjected to bloody fluids.

Kwanten and Simmons, who’s never seen, play off each other well in the of the most peculiar horror odd couples yet. Their chemistry and the quirky relationship between man and Other creates an easy focal point while Wes, on his own, remains relatively tricky to grasp. Kwanten fully commits to the goop and grime; Wes’s exploits in a dingy public bathroom inhabited by a goopy cosmic entity could prove an endurance test for germophobes.

Glorious may take place almost entirely within a single small location, but McKendry packs it full of horror personality. There’s an inventiveness to the staging that captures the vastness of the cosmos despite the small cubic set piece. In an otherwise nondescript setting, the filmmaker infuses visual interest throughout; no small feat here.

Great casting, stellar camerawork, and a biting sense of splatstick humor make for a surprising new entry in single-location horror. There’s too much restraint regarding its lead character, undermining the punchline a bit. Still, it’s a quick and dirty tale of cosmic karma that will likely leave you squirming, cringing, and cackling in equal measure.

Glorious made its world premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival and has been acquired by Shudder. Release TBD.

The post ‘Glorious’ Review – Single Location Genre-Bender Descends Into Cosmic Nightmare [Fantasia] appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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