Eye for Film’s Glorious (2022) Movie Review

“What’s billed as Lovecraftian horror certainly fits that mold on some level, but it may be more like what you might have expected if the old HPs had started writing sitcoms. .” | Photo: Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

Rest stops on long, lonely roads are one of those places with innate story potential. They are temporary refuges for all kinds of people but in many cases no one stays there; they are rarely visited to stock vending machines, pick up litter and clean toilets. They exist on the outskirts of the civilized world, a place of unlikely encounters where the usual rules don’t apply.

When he gets there, Wes (Ryan Kwanten) has already broken quite a few rules. He said goodbye to Brenda (Sylvia Grace Crim), a woman who was obviously the love of his life. He put everything he owns in his car and drove off, full of regrets. After a curative drinking binge and a restless night by the roadside, he decides to go to the bathroom before leaving. It will stay there for a very long time.

Places like this, on the fringes, are ideal spots for marginalized forms of interaction, so it’s no surprise to see a glory hole on the side of one of the stalls, even though the illustration that surrounds it is a bit unusual. Wes isn’t here for that, so he ignores him, and when the person in the next cabin starts chatting, he’s polite but tries to avoid getting carried away, protecting his boundaries. However, when the toilet block door refuses to budge, he realizes he’s in trouble and is forced to turn to his unseen neighbor for help. That’s when Ghat (voiced by JK Simmons) shows up properly, and things start to get really, really weird.

What’s billed as Lovecraftian horror certainly fits that mold on one level, but it may be more like what you might have expected if old HP had taken up writing sitcoms. . Wes fits easily into the role of the sitcom’s embattled heterosexual man (although looks can be deceiving) and the culture clash between him and Ghat, as they repeatedly misinterpret the efforts of the another to communicate, provides plenty of entertainment. This is kept in balance by the seriousness Simmons brings to his role, playing it absolutely straight even when Ghat’s claims are at their most grandiose and seemingly absurd. The storyline is solid, the world built in it is well done, but it would still flounder without that extra weight.

Glory holes are never just about sexual relief, which is often easier to get in other ways. They talk about the unknowability of the other and the thrill (and danger) that comes with it, for both parties. Glorious takes a risk every time he gives more information or verifies a claim, but most of the time it’s handled with due caution. There’s more to that initial hook, and it’s played with confidence. Simmons fans may not see the actor but will be delighted with this performance nonetheless, and it’s also worth mentioning Crim (seen in flashback) who manages to make a huge emotional impact in a very short time.

While the film’s low budget is evident, especially in the final sequence, there’s some great practical effects work that serves it well, and by the time we get into CGI territory, we’re already so far removed from the familiar that it is not difficult to bear. Shown off at Fantasia 2022, it faced far greater competition, but it’s gained a devoted following, and at home on Shudder it’s ready to please.

Reviewed on: August 18, 2022


Comments are closed.