Friday, August 26, 2022



Rebekah McKendry

Glorious is a “COVID film,” these are usually shot in limited locations with small casts. There are a slew of these films ever since lockdown was a thing, and I love them. I think these limitations can really bring out some interesting problem solving and creativity, and I think it is exactly that which makes Glorious such a fun horror film as it sets out to cram cosmic scale horror into a rest stop bathroom.

Wes (Ryan Kwanten) awakens in a rest stop bathroom with a massive headache and a mysterious voice coming from the next stall. The stall has an elaborate piece of graffiti featuring a demonic creature but the voice coming from the other side is pleasant enough. This voice belongs to a being named Ghat (J.K. Simmons), and Ghat has a request for Wes and he’s not going to like it one but… but it seems that time is running out for the both of them.

"I should have smoked that blunt now I woke up
on the set of From Beyond."

Glorious boils down to the back and forth of Wes and Ghat. This wouldn’t work without some some great chemistry between Ryan Kwanten and J.K. Simmons. Simmons manages to dominate a film in which he never physically appears. His Ghat is magnetic and filled dry wit and menace. Where as Wes is a scrambling mess of a person looking for any way out of his situation, Ghat is a methodical, charming yet relentless. Underneath that surface, it is just as madly scrambling to survive but it maintains the illusion of control.

Despite rarely taking a step outside of the rest stop, Glorious has a beautiful look to it. The most striking element is the use of animation in the form of bathroom stall graffiti to tell the history of the cosmic forces at play. The bathroom is a contrast of squalor and bright neon lighting. This lighting scheme also serve as a narrative reminder of the collision of the grime of earthly life and psychedelic cosmic threats lurking just beyond the veil of our perceptions.



Pacing is vital to a film like this because it needs to keep the tension constantly climbing, the climax has to feel inevitable but at the same time satisfying on a narrative level. This is where Glorious stumbles just bit, it starts so strongly and keeps building on to this moment and it has to because the story asks quite a bit of Wes by the end of the 2nd act and we have to get him emotionally to a place where he would even consider doing such things. Glorious takes just a bit too long tearing down Wes and the film loses some steam but not enough to completely undermine the climax.

Glorious was a delightful surprise. I knew very little going in but each revelation works and the characters have an enjoyable chemistry. Glorious is a great horror comedy that I hope gets the recognition that it deserves.

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