Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Glorious, on Shudder

This film makes “sparing a square” look like not such a big favor after all—not that there is any toilet paper in this disgusting rest-stop bathroom. Hungover Wes isn’t making it any cleaner, either, but his neighbor in the adjoining stall will really make things messy in Rebekah McKendry’s Glorious, which premieres tomorrow on Shudder.

Wes was on the road, missing his ex, Brenda, but she wasn’t taking his calls. In retrospect, it was probably a mistake to get blind, stinking drunk at the lonely rest-stop and then burn his pants in a bonfire, but it apparently seemed like the thing to do at the time. As a result, he is in pretty bad shape when the voice of Farmers Insurance starts talking to him from the stall next door. There happens to be a hole in the wall, but it cautions him not to look, claiming its appearance would drive Wes mad.

The voice Wes will call Ghat claims to be something truly Lovecraftian and it certainly seems to have that kind of supernatural powers. Forr one thing, Ghat can get inside of Wes’s head, interrupting the memories he tries to retreat into. It wants something from Wes, and only Wes. Nobody else is invited to Ghat’s party.

is often pretty gross, but also pretty clever. McKendry deftly exploits the claustrophobia of the setting and its inherent ickiness. What really makes the film though is J.K. Simmons, whose voice is absolutely perfect for the commanding, yet weirdly ingratiating Ghat. This is probably the best voiceover performance of the year, even including most animated films.

Ryan Kwanten is similarly well-cast as the depressed and degenerate Wes. Just looking at him makes you want to take an Alka Seltzer. He also presumably carried on a pretty intense one-sided conversation, given Ghat’s crazy talk must have been recorded separately. Professionals do that all the time, but he had to reach some manic extremes.

There is a lot of humor in
Glorious, as well as a good deal of winking and nodding towards Lovecraft, which is cool, since he has been largely cancelled by the professionally offended, self-appointed genre gatekeepers. It has a twist we have seen before, but McKendry manages to surprise us when she springs it.

Throughout it all, Ghat’s wry dialogue and Simmons’s sly delivery keep the audience completely hooked. There is an apt logic to the screenplay, co-written by Joshua Hull, David Ian McKendry, and Todd Rigney that really carries the film home. Highly recommended for fans of Lovecraft and Simmons,
Glorious starts streaming tomorrow (8/18) on Shudder.