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Men Reviews Are Online, And Critics Have A Lot To Say About The Body Horror In The A24 Movie

Men starring Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear.
(Image credit: A24)

When the first reactions to the new A24 horror movie Men came out, a lot of critics mentioned one disturbing element from Alex Garland’s third directorial effort — the body horror. “Brilliant” and “memorable” were two words used to describe what goes down, and now the reviews are in to expand on what audiences can expect come May 20. 

Starring 2022 Oscar nominee Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear, Men appears to be pretty horrifying judging from its trailer, moving away from the director’s sci-fi leanings featured in his past projects, Ex Machina and Annihilation. The movie sees Harper Marlowe (Buckley) vacationing in the English countryside after the death of her husband in a town filled with men played by Rory Kinnear. 

Let’s see what the reviews have to say, particularly about the body horror of it all, starting with CinemaBlend’s review of Men. Eric Eisenberg gives the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars, saying the actors are brilliant, and every frame of the movie adds to the symbolism of Alex Garland’s message, but not in a distracting way. Audiences will face specific fears as the director embraces the fantastical:

[W]hile it’s not quite as phenomenal and engaging as the writer/director’s first two features, it’s an execution of awesome cinematic vision that delivers spectacular body horror in its finale that will drop the jaw of every genre fan.

Valerie Complex of Deadline says no viewer will be left unscathed, calling it a frightening exploration of a suffering woman’s mind, and Jessie Buckley matches Rory Kinnear’s energy as he embodies his multiple roles with fervor. However, she says the film is frustratingly vague, and its ambiguity leads to weaken the statement Alex Garland is trying to make:

No matter what fans think, Garland always delivers that sense of paranoia and uncertainty sprinkled with a bit of body horror in his movies, and Men will take you on that journey where you’re never sure if you’ll come out the other side unscathed.

David Ehrlich of IndieWire grades the film a B, saying that anyone familiar with Alex Garland’s work will know that his take on toxic masculinity isn’t going to be easily digestible. Garland’s projects all make statements about self-definition, and Men shows an unnerving picture that audiences won’t be able to unsee:

By the time Men is over, many viewers will find themselves wondering if their eyes can unsee, as Garland’s ambiguous whatsit — most of which unfolds like an evocatively strange dream that a run-of-the-mill slasher once had — makes a giddy swerve towards Giger-esque body horror in its final 20 minutes.

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter calls Men a mind-bending dissection of manhood, and its reproductive imagery and body horror prosthetics are gruesomely effective. The descent into the grotesque is “dizzying,” and the ending is open to interpretation, which will likely make it a talker amongst horror lovers:

Building maniacally on current conversations about masculine aggression and female trauma, the film lays the groundwork for familiar folk horror, with a vulnerable woman in a quietly insidious environment, before taking a bizzaro turn into trippy body horror that hits new heights of WTF weirdness. Riveting performances from Jessie Buckley and a truly chameleonic Rory Kinnear make this A24 conversation-starter an unconventional genre standout.

Brianna Zigler of The Playlist grades the movie a B, saying Men is sneaky in its self-awareness. That sneakiness, the review contends, starts in the trailer, which is intentionally made to look like any other horror movie. In the end, Men is a surprising slice of mutation horror:

[T]he movie features two scenes towards the end of act three, which are both easily, for me, two of the most revolting sequences I have ever witnessed in a movie. Though there will always be something lacking when CGI body horror is favored over practical SFX, Men reaches a point where my mouth was struck agape by what I was watching. I find that films are never willing to be as disgusting as I’d like them to be, so I was delighted by this development.

Grotesque, disgusting body horror seems to be what viewers can expect from this one, along with a complex statement on masculinity. It sounds like audiences will be invited to draw a lot of their own conclusions about the message delivered in this offering from Alex Garland and A24.

If you’d like to check it out, Men is set to premiere in theaters on Friday, May 20. In the meantime, check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what other films are coming soon to theaters. 

Heidi Venable
Heidi Venable

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.