The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Shudder] - GLORIOUS | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Shudder] - GLORIOUS

glorious review
A man becomes trapped in a roadside restroom with a cosmic entity.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Rebekah McKendry

Starring: Ryan Kwanten, JK Simmons, Tordy Clark, Andre Lamar, Sylvia Grace Crim

glorious poster

Director Rebekah McKendry's sophomore feature Glorious certainly boasts a unique premise. Following what appears to be the breakup of his relationship with his girlfriend Brenda (Sylvia Grace Crim), our protagonist Wes (Ryan Kwanten) finds himself falling asleep at the wheel, looking as though he's been rode hard and put away wet. Pulling into a rest stop, he attempts to call Brenda but smashes his phone after only getting through to her voicemail. Finding a bottle of whiskey in his car, he sets about getting smashed and burns all but one of his polaroids of Brenda. Waking with a nasty hangover and no trousers the following morning, Wes heads into the rest stop bathroom where he finds himself in a groggy conversation with a voice (JK Simmons) emanating through the glory hole of his stall. Discovering he's locked in the restroom, Wes begins to believe the increasingly odd claims of the unseen voice, which purports to be a cosmic entity seeking a favour from Wes in order to prevent the destruction of the universe.

glorious review

Yep, haven't heard that one before. So why does Glorious feel so familiar? Perhaps it's because it shares its theme and setup with two other recent horror movies. Another recent Shudder release, Luke Boyce's Revealer has a similar premise of characters stuck in a scuzzy confined setting during the apocalypse, in that case the peep show booth of a strip club, and Glorious employs a similar aesthetic of purple neon light, as though it's set in Prince's bathroom. But the movie Glorious is most similar to is Travis Stevens' yet to be released A Wounded Fawn, which recently premiered at Tribeca. Like Glorious, that movie saw a man with a sinister past put on trial by cosmic forces, and both movies see their leading man get increasingly deranged and bedraggled, their bloodied blue shirts making them resemble Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead 2.

glorious review

Glorious is the most successful of the three, due in no small part to the performances of its two central characters. Kwanten, a Ryan Reynolds lookalike best know for his role in vampire TV show True Blood, has a boyish charm that helps mask the sinister character he's gradually revealed to be concealing. Simmons delivers a truly impressive vocal performance, playing against his usual gruff self by portraying his cosmic entity as something of a naïve child.

McKendry employs flashbacks to Wes's relationship with Brenda, in the form of almost subliminal flashes and lengthier scenes. The latter serve to disrupt the flow of the film and don't really tell us anything more than the ideas put into our head by the briefer glimpses of this doomed coupling. It's so obvious where this backstory is headed that it may have been wiser to spill the beans earlier in the narrative.

glorious review

While the dynamic between Wes and the unseen entity is initially witty, it grows a little tiresome in the movie's second half when the film sets about revealing its plot and becomes overly reliant on exposition. It comes in at 80 minutes yet still feels like it could have told this story more efficiently in the form of a short or an anthology segment.

 is on Shudder from August 18th.

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