2022 has been an unusually solid year for the horror genre. With releases like Scream, X and Prey, horror hounds have been blessed with quality content to quench their thirst for fright. However, I can say with extreme confidence, that 2022 hasn’t given us anything else quite like Glorious. And this type of over the top strangeness is exactly what we needed to fill the hole left by movies like The Reanimator and Society.
Wes (Ryan Kwanten) is going through a rough patch. He’s living out of his car as he travels aimlessly and struggles to overcome the trauma of a recent relationship. Finding himself at a small, empty rest stop, Wes drowns his sorrowful memories in a bottle of whiskey. He awakes the next morning, as you’d expect, hung over and rethinking his life choices.
After violently heaving into the dirty toilet of the rest stop bathroom, Wes finds himself stuck; trapped within the small confines of the rest room with only a disembodied voice to keep him company. That voice, claiming to be the god Ghatanothoa (J.K. Simmon), comes from the next stall over and tells Wes that the fate of mankind lies in his hands alone.
Glorious leans into its absurdity, and it benefits from it. Its title is hilariously clever once you realize how much of its plot revolves around the glory-hole between two rest room stalls. I went into this film blind, with no prior knowledge, and so the inside joke of its title didn’t immediately register. The hole, which is adorned with the imagery of an unknown tentacled creature, acts as the main vessel for communication between Wes and the voice in the adjoining stall.
Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will no doubt see his influence throughout Glorious; from the indescribable form of Ghatanothoa, to the imminent threat from a creature beyond our understanding. To call a film “Lovecraftian” feels like a tired and trite comparison,. However, few films have been more deserving of that title than this one. Glorious is a madhouse, horror spectacle unlike anything we’ve seen in recent years; a love letter to the bonkers, over top heyday of the 80’s horror experience.
Wes is the only character seen on screen throughout the majority of Glorious’ runtime. The failure or success of the film largely falls on Kwanten’s shoulders and his ability to sell the experience. Luckily, he’s up for the task. Oscar winning actor J.K. Simmons does spectacular voice work, as well. To act without utilizing movement or facial expressions takes a certain level of skill that many possess. Simmons’ voice is distinct and powerful enough to carry the weight and importance it needs here.
Glorious utilizes a single setting and two characters to craft a unique and compelling story. It’s a welcomed throwback to the genre films of the past while also managing to stand on its own. It’s strange, original, gory and absolutely… glorious. 8/10