Horrors beyond our wildest dreams occupied the mind of H.P. Lovecraft. While monster stories of his era are not exclusively his domain, the prolific and problematic writer maintains a hold on today’s public consciousness. The use of otherworldly gods and terrors paints a picture of epic scale. That poses a challenge for independent filmmakers like Director Rebekah McKendry, who wish to tell these stories on a smaller scale. In Glorious, McKendry does this in the most unique way possible. Buoyed by strong visual flare and two surprising performances, Glorious should eek up your must-watch lists in 2022.
For Wes (Ryan Kwanten), struggles with his girlfriend (Sylvie Grace Crim) have reached a breaking point. The two have gone their separate ways, leaving Wes on a long road trip with her belongings in the back of his car. After a drunken night at a rest stop, Wes rushed into the bathroom to clean up. Little does he know that his next-door stall-mate Ghat (J.K. Simmons) has other plans. As the two speak through a glory hole (yes) in the stall, Ghat reveals his cosmic power relies on Wes, or the world may never see another sunrise.
The oddity of Glorious quickly comes into focus, which will lose some viewers. However, McKendry employs an upbeat pace to keep things entertaining, which prevents the film from overstaying its welcome. Clocking in at 79 minutes, it’s clear everyone involved knows a lean story helps the film. Screenwriters Joshua Hall, David Ian McKendry, and Todd Rigby craft a funny screenplay that provides plenty of showcase sequences.
In those scenes, McKendry puts out top-tier work. She adds tactility to the film that firmly roots us in the disgusting prescience of an Eldritch Terror. That would turn stomached in its own right, but the slime and tentacles barely register against the vile bathroom. The simple setting allows McKendry to keep a limited cast, likely the cause of Covid restrictions, but she never lets the world feel small. Cosmic energy and visuals help Glorious transcend its single location setting.
The film would be difficult to imagine without Kwaten and Simmons in the leading roles. Kwanten pushes his creepiness and zany appearance to the limit. Even if he had not found a terror in the bathroom, his energy spells out his ability to upend any scene. A live wire of a performance that’s needed to make the film succeed. Meanwhile, Simmons once again delivers an A+ vocal performance. He adds the right amount of omnipotence and genuine distaste for humans. Most importantly, he strikes terror into your heart with a syllable or two.
Glorious stands out from the horror field of 2022 because of its efficiency. Dialogue is short and whipped into shape. A limited runtime cuts the fat out of the film. A small bathroom makes the best use of the budget. All in, Glorious emanates with impressive visuals and stellar performance.