Men, the third directorial effort from Alex Garland, looks like a straight-up hallucinatory nightmare. Known to lean more to the sci-fi genre with Ex Machina and Annihilation, Garland appears to either be creeping more into horror in the upcoming A24 movie, or Men’s haunting trailer is keeping some of its plot elements hidden. It could be a little of both, and that madness is part of what has fans excited for the movie. The film screened this weekend and the first reactions are online, giving us a better idea of what to expect when it hits theaters May 20.
Men stars Jessie Buckley, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2022 for The Lost Daughter and has plenty of experience in the genre of creepy mind-benders after I’m Thinking of Ending Things. The plot description is purposefully vague, with Buckley playing a woman traveling by herself after her husband’s death. Pure terror ensues.
Let’s check out the reactions to the upcoming horror movie, starting with CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg. He says while it may not be his favorite of Alex Garland’s projects, Men does continue Garland’s streak of fuck-with-your-head storytelling, and there’s the promise (threat?) of “brilliant body horror”:
Men is not my favorite Alex Garland movie, but it most certainly does extend his impressive streak of making complex, fascinating, and layered genre stories that fuck with your head for days. The ending is certainly a jaw dropper, and executes some brilliant body horror. #Men pic.twitter.com/hS4OqCt8qCMay 2, 2022
Hoai-Tran Bui of SlashFilm isn’t sure how audiences are going to react (actually, he’s pretty sure they’ll hate Men), but this critic loves it, or at least thinks she does. Maybe she hasn’t fully recovered from the viewing, as multiple critics are saying this one sticks with you for a while:
MEN: Alex Garland's most nakedly horror movie, and also his weirdest. A surreal folk horror film that starts off as an unsettling home invasion thriller and gets stranger (and gorier) from there. I loved it?? Audiences will hate it!May 2, 2022
Sarah Musnicky of Nightmarish Conjurings notes that Alex Garland isn't afraid to take risks in this movie, which is encouraging but not surprising when considering his past work. She also states that viewers are going to find it polarizing, and there’s that body horror again...
Alex Garland's MEN is guaranteed to be polarizing. Provocative in its execution, Garland is again unafraid to take risks, with memorable body horror moments in @men_movie that sear the mind. Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear make it difficult to look away onscreen. #MenMovie pic.twitter.com/XaXbUSHX8fMay 2, 2022
Even ahead of seeing the film, critics were expecting Jessie Buckley to be great. The Irish actor has been on the rise ever since 2018’s Wild Rose, earning acclaim for her work in Charlie Kaufman's aforementioned I'm Thinking Of Ending Things and the series Chernobyl and Fargo. And that was all before her Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Maggie Gylennhall's The Lost Daughter. Film critic Katie Rife confirms that Buckley comes through, and says the imagery from Men has followed her for days:
Men is an enigmatic movie, which will make it a divisive one. It’s gooey and unsettling body horror with a jaw-dropping climax — the imagery in this movie has been following me around for days. Jessie Buckley great, obviously.May 2, 2022
Jessie Buckley may get top billing, but Chris Evangelista of SlashFilm says this movie belongs to Rory Kinnear. The trailer seems to show protagonist Harper (Buckley) surrounded by an entire village of men, all revealed to be played by Kinnear. It’s unsettling, to say the least, and while this critic does classify the film as horror, there’s something more elusive to Men:
MEN is creepy, strange, and gruesome, with genuine moments of dark comedy. It's both a straightforward horror film and something far more elusive/unclassifiable. Jessie Buckley is predictably great, but the movie belongs to the many Rory Kinnears (Rorys Kinnear?). pic.twitter.com/N0GUx3w7jfMay 2, 2022
Eric Walkuski of JoBlo says some viewers will love the film and some will hate it, but Walkuski doesn’t sound like he knows which side he falls on. He says it’s not what he expected, but is definitely unforgettable, if not quite satisfying:
What to say about #Men... It's not what I was expecting, but it has plenty of disturbing moments, and Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear are aces. Third act is bizarre and unforgettable, even if it's not exactly satisfying. Some will love the film, some will totally hate it. pic.twitter.com/9UtYMkZunkMay 2, 2022
It’s hard to know which side you’ll fall on as a viewer when the critics mostly agree that a movie is polarizing. To say Alex Garland’s latest effort sounds disturbing is probably an understatement, and it seems to promise some unforgettable performances. Whether we actually like it, though, remains to be seen. We’ll get to see what Men is all about (including the body horror!) when this A24 film hits theaters on Friday, May 20. In the meantime, check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule so you can start planning your next trip to the theater!
Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.
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