“Men’ Review – A Sharp, Fascinating But Uneven ThrillerMen”
Alex Garland is a danger director. Ex-Machina, a thriller about the risks of artificial intelligence, was released in 2014. In 2018, he directed Annihilation, a science fiction film about the dangers of self-destruction. In 2022, Garland returns to direct his third film, this time on the most dangerous subject yet: men.
Jessie Buckley stars as Harper, a woman who moves into a new house after a recent tragedy and is stalked and tormented by someone or something from the neighboring woods. This is a well-directed and poorly executed horror film that succeeds in achieving its terrifying goals.
Men: Horror Movies Synopsis
Horror movies are versatile in that they can include action, science fiction, and psychological thrillers, as well as ghosts and masked killers, and can be used for social commentary. It is the latter in the case of Men, as the film tries to highlight gender and the challenges women face. Harper, the protagonist, is introduced in the film as she watches her spouse jump off a building. With well-placed flashbacks showing her terrible connection to him, the film does an outstanding job of tapping into her past to flesh out the film’s themes.
Harper is an intriguing heroine, and the film portrays her as a sympathetic figure. Watching her deal with a previous trauma of hers takes her on an interesting journey as she navigates her trauma as she tries to move on. Meeting numerous men throughout the village, Garland recounts this narrative with an intriguing point of view. Rory Kinnear plays these men, but their performances are so diverse that some viewers may not realize they’re all from the same person. Every man she meets in the film feels like a reincarnation of her previous encounters, all with the same face. It’s an interesting method of showing what Harper is up against.
Other than that, this is a horror movie. Unpleasant suspense provides the scares in the first two acts. Garland does an excellent job directing the horror, crafting her sequences and framing her shots to put the audience in Harper’s shoes while also keeping them one step ahead of her. With a third act that focuses more on body horror and a disturbing amount of gore, the picture takes a turn. This was an unexpected twist that didn’t feel totally justified. It’s at these points that the film becomes more allegorical, and the audience may tune out as she covers her eyes with one hand and scratches her head with the other.
At times, it feels like the film is just scratching the surface of what it wants to convey, unable to find satisfactory methods of telling its story to the audience. As a result, the movie leaves a lot of questions unanswered, but that’s part of what makes it so compelling. Men is a great tense horror movie featuring phenomenal performances from Buckley, Kinnear and Paapa Essiedu. Horror movies can be disposable and forgettable. Garland’s motives could use some work, as this is his least amazing directorial effort, but he has talent on the page and behind the camera, as shown in this gripping thriller.
According to ComingSoon’s review guidelines, a score of 7 equals “Good.” It’s a hit piece of entertainment worth watching, but it might not be for everyone.