Men: Another Review
In the aftermath of a personal tragedy, Harper retreats alone to the beautiful English countryside, hoping to find a place to heal. However, someone or something from the surrounding woods appears to be stalking her. What begins as simmering dread soon becomes a fully formed nightmare, inhabited by her darkest memories and fears.
Alex Garland‘s Men opens up genuinely heartwarming. I know, the word “heartwarming” is probably the last word you want to hear me use to describe the latest film from Garland, who is definitely best known for directing legitimately disturbing horror films that are capable of making even grown men want to sleep with the blanket pulled up over their eyes.
But, hear me out.
In the opening few scenes, we watch as Jessie Buckley‘s Harper drives down an idyllic countryside road, listening to some tunes. The drive she’s taking is filled with absolutely gorgeous scenery, and everywhere you look is green. It’s basically like a dream come true for most people.
We soon learn that she’s driving down to a massive but ancient countryside house that’s owned by a man named Geoffrey. Why is she renting out this house? Well, as it turns out, her husband died not too long ago, and this is her way of trying to cope with it all. She’s trying to make sense of him. Why? That’s part of the movie’s mystery.
As for Geoffrey, he’s a super charming fellow. As soon as his path crosses with Harper’s, it’s clear that this man is jolly, happy, and friendly. He’s more than willing to help Harper settle into this new home of hers, and frequently insists that if she ever needs even the slightest bit of help, to come and find him.
Honestly, his character had me smiling from ear-to-ear. At this point in the film, I found myself thinking “Why is this movie so warming yet so… unsettling?”. That’s the absolutely mesmerizing thing about Men – it’s a film that is absolutely terrifying, and yet, for so much of the running time, you barely know why.
Even in the opening when Harper is driving down to the front of the house and talking with Geoffrey, there’s an aura of unease present. Harper plucking off an apple from a nearby tree and taking a bite will send a shiver down your spine. But why? Deep down, we know it’s just an apple. People eat apples all the time, so why does this feel different?
Men is, simply put, the greatest horror film since Midsommar, which, by the way, is my favorite film ever made. I am legitimately in awe that this film even exists, because it’s these kinds of movies that inspire me the most. Weird horror is my kind of horror, and Men is easily the weirdest horror film I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
But I truly cannot express enough just how disturbing this movie is from beginning to end. There’s an incredible scene that was shown in the trailer where we watch Harper walking down a long, dark tunnel where she eventually proceeds to sing a song, only to hear the echo of her voice go on and on for miles.
In this scene, nothing necessarily creepy happens, but there’s still that sense of foreboding. Like something is about to go wrong at any given moment. Men finds terror in the most simplistic of places and situations. Harper gets into one of the most terrifying encounters I’ve ever seen in a horror movie while simply being in her living room.
There’s a scene in the final ten minutes that felt so grandiose and frightening, that I seriously felt my heart beating rapidly, almost to the point where it felt as if it was going to pop out of my chest. Garland is a straight-up master at making horror that grows and grows and grows until you can barely take it anymore.
And it also features easily the most messed up horror movie ending I’ve ever seen. My entire theatre was in complete bewilderment at what they had just seen, and it was such a good feeling to witness that in person. I love whenever a filmmaker is able to freak audiences out so much to the point where they are quite literally rendered speechless, much like I was. As soon as those end credits appeared on screen, I just stared straight at the screen for several minutes before leaving the theatre. I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time a film left me feeling that way.
I want to stray away from talking too much into Men for fear of spoiling it. Trust me, you need to watch this movie as blind as possible because if you do, you’ll end up having one of the most memorable horror movie experiences of your entire life. Alex Garland – please make more horror films.
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