Combustible Celluloid Review - Glorious (2022), Joshua Hull, David Ian McKendry, Todd Rigney, Rebekah McKendry, Ryan Kwanten, J. K. Simmons, Sylvia Grace Crim
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With: Ryan Kwanten, J. K. Simmons, Sylvia Grace Crim
Written by: Joshua Hull, David Ian McKendry, Todd Rigney
Directed by: Rebekah McKendry
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 79
Date: 08/18/2022

Glorious (2022)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Lavatory Mouse

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This loony, bloody little horror item is a prime example of bonkers creativity and imagination overcoming a limited budget, somehow making a two-character gabfest feel visceral and dynamic.

A distraught Wes (Ryan Kwanten) is struggling to stay awake while driving. He pulls into a rest stop, looking disheveled and anxious, and with a hair-trigger temper. It appears he has recently been rejected by his girlfriend, Brenda (Sylvia Grace Crim). He tries to find catharsis by burning some things on a grill and drinking a bottle of whisky. He wakes up in the morning, hungover, and without pants.

He goes into the men's room, where a mysterious voice (J.K. Simmons) begins speaking to him from the glory hole in the adjacent stall. Soon, Wes discovers that the bathroom is locked, he cannot escape, and that the voice is more than just a voice. It belongs to a "very lonely, very old god." Worst of all, Wes discovers that the fate of the universe may be in his hands.

Glorious — the title refers to the cosmically-decorated "glory hole" in the bathroom stall — is set almost entirely inside the men's room at a rest stop, with just a few, brief exteriors, and some jagged flashbacks to the main character's broken relationship with his girlfriend. Director Rebekah McKendry keeps her camera moving, as if pacing nervously around the room, changing colors and tones, and, in a sequence in which Wes tries to escape through an air duct, does loop-the-loops.

She also relies heavily on her two actors. Kwanten plays a most unlikable character, a man who is clearly suffering, but also a man who makes bad choices, but the actor manages to sustain him and make him watchable throughout. Simmons is the key. As the actors has proven throughout his decorated career, his particular voice contains rich tones of kindness, authority, and threat, all intermingling with the precision of a chess master.

Admittedly, the movie isn't able to have something going on at all times during its 79-minute running time, and Simmons is able to stall beautifully, keeping us off-balance and wondering. It's too bad that the movie's lone Black character meets with a cliched death, but that major flaw aside, Glorious is delirious, gory fun.

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