Men is a 2022 folk horror film written and directed by Alex Garland. It follows the a widowed young woman (Jessie Buckley) who goes on holiday alone in the English countryside but gets disturbed by the men in the town (all played by Rory Kinnear).
Harper Marlowe decides to spend a holiday in the small village of Cotson following the suicide of her husband James. In flashbacks, it is revealed that Harper is fed up with James’ abuse and emotional outbursts, intending to divorce him, leading him to threaten her with killing himself and hitting her when she continues to reject him. Harper locks James out of their flat and sees him him fall from upstairs balcony to his death.
Sometime later, Harper pulls up to the house she is renting, where she is met by its owner, Geoffrey. She goes for a walk in the woods and finds an old railroad tunnel. A mysterious figure appears at the end of the tunnel and start chasing her, but she gets away. Coming upon an open field, she takes a picture of it on her phone, capturing a naked man standing near an abandoned building. Later, as Harper is video chatting with her friend Riley, she notices the naked man in her yard, having followed her from the tunnel. She calls the police and he is arrested. She goes to a church and meets a young boy with a female cartoon character like mask and a vcar, who both bear similarity to Geoffrey and the vicar tries to rationalize James hitting her. At a pub in town, one of the policemen (who also looks like Geoffrey) tells Harper that the naked man was released as they had no legal evidence to keep him detained.
Harper tells Riley this and she agrees to come in the morning, but as Harper tries to send her the address her service is interrupted. She sees the policeman in her yard, but as her lights flicker, he changes into the young boy, who chases her into the house. She defends herself with a knife and a window breaks in the kitchen. Geoffrey arrives and finds that the window breaking is do to a crow flying into it, which he then kills by breaking its neck. As Geoffrey goes into the yard, he is changed into the naked man, who chases her again. When he tries to reach her through the mail slot, she stabs him, but he manages to pull his arm free, the stuck knife ripping his arm in two. Both the boy and the vicar appear in the house, both of them correspondingly injured. The vicar tries to rape Harper but she stabs him and runs out of the house.
A24 is known for extremely bizarre, disturbing and quite confusing movies. This film starts out really good, but takes a major nose dive, like much of A24’s motion pictures. It just gets stranger and stranger, stupider and stupider as the fillm reaches the climax and then just ends abruptly. The trailer for this movie makes it look like a great bizarre thriller, which, great it is not, bizarre it is and thrilling, pretty thrilling in lots of scenes. Most of the scenes towards the end, will have you saying “WTF?!” Because they are so weird, just plain stupid, they make no sense whatsoever.
Alex Garland’s Ex Machina was an outstanding film, so I was expecting something just as good and this was a HUGE disappointment. I don’t understand how anyone could find this film even remotely good, as I found it just plain bad. It starts out good, but very slow and rather disturbing, being the scenes of domestic violence and suicide . The acting is great, the scenery is beauty, as is the music, but story is too strange and unsettling and at times, confusing.
One male villain covered in blood, giving birth to another one and then that one and so on until Harper’s dead ex-husband is reborn is about as weird as it gets for a movie. It’s never explained how Geoffrey could turn into all those male characters and how he knew about her situation when she didn’t rent the house under her married name and he had never even met her before. The director has you guessing about so many things that never get answered and I’m sure that’s what he was going for, but that made it hard for me to watch.
Being a big fan of horror and art films and reading the rave reviews, I was really hoping to like this movie, but it was nothing more another typical A24 production. Now I don’t hate all of their films, I really like Ladybird and Moonlight, but it just seems that most of the motion pictures they put out are like Men and Herediary. Don’t waste your time with this stupid, disgusting, mess of a movie. 18+ 1.5/5