We’ve all had a day when we feel like giving up and either drinking ourselves into a stupor or ending it because life is too tough to handle. Maybe our wife/girlfriend left us, we got fired from our job, or worse yet, we were having problems with our co-workers and bosses, so we may have quit instead. In Glorious, that’s the basic premise of bringing on of what turns out to be something totally strange and off the wall.
Wes (Ryan Kwanten, True Blood) is a down-on-his-luck guy who, while driving in some undisclosed location, starts to fall asleep behind the wheel. He decided to pull over onto a rest area off the side of the road. While there, he gets drunk and burns his belongings. When he wakes up from one heck of a hangover, he feels the urge to vomit, so he runs into the restroom and sticks his head into a toilet. When he gets up, a voice (J.K. Simmons) from the stall next to him starts talking.
The voice is that of a space oddity that asks him for help with something, but that’s when this film turns really crazy and goes in a wild, horrific sci-fi direction. The voice starts to get philosophical with the man, but all the man wants to do is escape from this nightmare he believes he’s in. The man begins to think about his life and why he ended up in the restroom in a rest area. He wishes he was with his girlfriend/wife instead. The entity in the stall has other plans for him, though.
This film isn’t for the squeamish. It had some very bloody scenes of a man getting killed and torn limb from limb. The blood flowed like a water faucet. The leading man realizes that the space entity in the stall means business. What he can’t figure out is why the entity chose him for this purpose. What did he do to deserve this incredible honor that’s not really an honor, but more like a detriment? He thinks he’s a nobody; why should he be chosen for some almighty job like this? Sometimes you are just in the right place at the wrong time.
The director Rebekah McKendry and co-writers Joshua Hall and David Ian McKendry try to weave a story of existentialism into a bloody horror film, and it works to some extent. The philosophical ideas it tries to discuss make sense, but the overall way they try to tell the story falls short of their lofty expectations. The gory nature of the film takes away from the high and mighty thought-provoking tale.
J.K. Simmons has played a lot of various types of characters in his career. I don’t think he’s ever played one such as this, though. His voice is so distinctive that he was the obvious choice to place a faceless entity hiding out in a bathroom stall. His voice reverberates at times, and when he’s mad or unhappy, he gets very loud. It’s a surprising feeling while watching the film. He definitely commands the screen in these moments. As a viewer, you just have to sit back in awe of him.
Glorious has a concept that, at first glance, doesn’t seem to work. The writers and director are hamstrung with the location of this rest area bathroom. The voice of Simmons and the absurdity of the story make it work in the end. This idea deserves credit even though the whole film as a whole isn’t all that satisfying. Sometimes filmmakers deserve a pat on the back for a good effort, and this one is that, if not anything else.
3 1/2 stars
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman Founder/EIC disappointment media