Be careful when and where you stop for some rest.
Glorious, written by Todd Rigney, Joshua Hull, and David Ian McKendry and directed by Rebekah McKendry is a glorious mess. I mean this in a positive neon-infused light because this movie can be quite grody. It can also be inventive and entertaining, amassing in a mix of horror, cosmic entities, comedy, and morality. It’s a hole of glorious proportions. (You’ll get the reference soon).
When Wes (Ryan Kwanten) stops at an undisclosed rest stop (the where isn’t important, more the why) after a seemingly devastating “breakup” he’s met with an unexpected responsibility. After a night of washing away his woes with whiskey and burning things that remind him of his ex, he wakes up feeling the desire to purge. An accident or a work of fate? Soon he is stuck in a bathroom he can’t escape with a very curious attendant in the next stall, who may just be a Lovecraftian neighbor who speaks through a glory hole.
What Would You Do?
As we slowly learn of his past we also learn of his potential future. There are some higher stakes at work here. Who is this guy? Why was he chosen? A lot of the magic of Glorious is in the watch. But also, it’s the way that the film delivers the information. Sometimes it’s holding the wool over our eyes, and sometimes it’s a blatant color infusion of which we can’t escape. If you’re reading this you’re probably in my wheelhouse of viewers, but it can’t be overlooked: this is undoubtedly weird. For me, that’s pretty rad.
As an hour and 19-minute movie, it utilizes its one location skillfully. While the movie mostly stays within this bathroom (with some occasional memories) it doesn’t feel small. As her second directorial feature, Rebekah McKendry it’s a very promising tell of her ability in the genre. Look out.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight how pointed the humor in the film is. It gave me quite a few chuckles but then it immediately filled the next breath with either absurdity or depth. That might seem strange, but it works. This is a bizarre one, but it really maximizes its strengths. At times obscene, other times disturbing, with a wealthy portion of the weight, this hits many categories.
J.K Simmons voices the other character, and it is genius. I got so much joy from that element alone, and it’s hard to describe exactly why. Simmons just somehow fits. Ryan Kwanten is also perfect, and he gives one of my favorite performances I’ve seen. This is a simple premise that is executed in a scope that spans worlds. Something I love about these kinds of films is the ability to work that line. Glorious does that.
The small locale with big consequences is a win for me. Glorious adheres to this idea to create an entertaining movie that writhes with thought and provocation. There’s a lot hiding between its initial grotesque and gory facade. It’s a bloody, neon-tinged nightmare that becomes one man’s reality. In all of its disturbing glory, it shouldn’t be missed.
Glorious premiered at Fantasia Fest 2022 and will be released on Shudder on August 18th, 2022