Men trailer: Alex Garland is back with an beautiful, unsettling horror mystery. Watch
Men looks like a typical Alex Garland film, albeit with horror elements. In other words, an utter delight. The Biblical imagery, clever use of vocals and sound design, visuals that are both pretty and unnerving, and a small but strong cast.
English writer-director Alex Garland, behind acclaimed movies like Ex Machina and Annihilation and the sci-fi thriller TV series Devs, is back with an A24 horror mystery called Men.
A24 horror movies are known for their unique directorial voice as the studio allows its filmmakers complete freedom without any commercial constraints that come with bigger studios. Men appears no different.
Starring Irish actor Jessie Buckley, the series has her playing the role of a recently widowed woman called Harper who, to take her minds off a recent tragedy (her husband’s death), goes on a solo vacation in the English countryside.
The place, an inn encircled by the woods, is beautiful in a primal sort of way and also something out of the Bible. Too much, in fact. And it’s not subtle either.
The place is surrounded by apple trees. The owner Geoffrey, played by Rory Kinnear, warns her off eating the ‘forbidden fruit’ when she takes a bite, before claiming he is joking. And he is too prying.
Things get sinister as Geoffrey’s face seems to be pasted on every man in the village she encounter, including the priest, who wonders aloud whether she is not to blame for her husband’s death. If only she had apologised, he would still be alive. Even the cop is Kinnear, and a young boy (Garland has used deep fake to achieve that, and the effect is clearly unfinished). The idea is that the society is so skewed towards men that everybody blames her for a tragedy she had no part in.
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Men looks like a typical Garland film, albeit with horror elements. In other words, an utter delight. The Biblical imagery, clever use of vocals and sound design, visuals that are both pretty and unnerving, and a small but strong cast — both Buckley and Kinnear have proven themselves to be striking performers. We cannot wait.
Men releases on May 20.