Movie Review: Men (2022)

[Please note: this review hints at a minor stylistic spoiler, but nothing to do with the plot. The aspect I refer to is something apparent from the first trailer.]

A British folk horror directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation), Men was released in 2022 by A24. In the wake of a personal tragedy, Harper Marlowe (Jessie Buckley) rents an old holiday house from Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear), but begins to feel threatened by the various inhabitants of the town.

+ Buckley is fantastic as the fish out of water in the small English town. Though I did personally find her to be a bit rude to Geoffrey at the beginning of the film, it all starts to make some more sense later on. Kinnear is fantastic in multiple roles (a more logical extreme of his dual roles in the recent series Our Flag Means Death), but it’s hard to say exactly why without going into too heavy spoilers
+ there is a lot of horror movie and real world horrifying imagery. This is by no means a pleasant film to watch. The movie also doesn’t shy away from violence, as one particular sequence (outside of the edge of your seat terror final stretch) is held in the centre of the frame as the entire action takes place which made me wince
+ there are long stretches of no dialogue or backing music, a favourite film trope of mine. I find myself scanning the scenery, looking for anything out of place and I especially enjoy when these scenes don’t end in some sort of loud scare chord. Stylistically, this was a lot like In the Earth (2021) or The Ritual (2017)

– the plot is somewhat confusing, and perhaps overly ‘artsy’. I can make some heavy assumptions about why all the men in this town look the same, and I can presume some things about the ending sequence. But there are no solid answers, and frankly I don’t know that even the director knows what those answers might be

Should you see this film: I really liked this, but I can’t promise I understand it. What I would argue is an intentionally provocative title, Men will scratch the itch for horror fans looking for something a bit weird, but will definitely not be for everyone.

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