A woman needs to get away for a while from personal demons and traumas that she has witnessed, and looks for the solution in a charming residence in the middle of the English countryside that will take her away from the madding crowd. The nature and charm of small communities seem the perfect antidote to the madding crowd, as well as the tortured images that return to her continuously.
However, something more disturbing and terrifying awaits him there. In addition to being chased by a mysterious and sinister man, she begins to realize that the town is full of men with the same face. The premise makes it quite clear where the complaint that Alex Garland seeks to make in ‘Men’ is going to go, perhaps his most challenging work despite having more outlined their intentions than ever.
What have I done to deserve this harassment?
His third film as director is already on digital platforms such as Filmin, Amazon or Apple TV for rent, ready to offer one of the most unique experiences in horror cinema this year. A terror that has been more or less constant in Garland’s filmography, including scripts, but here it takes up the role of setting the tone, with touches of rural horror and also of the supernatural for a powerful allegory brand of the house.
Garland’s cinema is characterized precisely by his powerful ideas embedded in his horror and/or science fiction stories. Here he resorts to less subtlety, swapping metaphors for direct allegory to tell the chilling main perspective. A town full of disturbing men with the same face leaves a clear reading about the patriarchy and the helplessness that a woman feels like the one played (fabulously) by Jessie Buckley.
However, it does not stay on the surface. The rural images, the use of Christian symbology and how the idea of identical men develops explore something a little more ambitious, such as the original sin of humanity. The damage caused by man to Mother Earth and the need for rebirth (personal and global) mark an existential story that does not want to fool around.
‘Men’: the original sin
For this reason, it is also Garland’s film that leaves less room for imaginationdespite his commitment to the abstract and even grotesque image (its final stretch is one of the most visceral and shocking recent horror movies).
Humanism, criticism of misogyny and environmentalism they devour a film that also has some interesting traces about how trauma haunts you, although in the end they remain unfinished and are better developed in films with less pretensions (and more effective in their respective area of terror) like ‘Smile’.
It’s still a very worthy recapture film, whether to adore it or be stumped by its visual ideas. Garland does one of the most complete works of him as an image maker, making a fabulous evolution from ‘Annihilation’ or ‘Devs’. That, and qualities that make it a film that does not leave you indifferent at all make it one of the most talkable horror movies of the year.