Wes (Ryan Kwanten) is currently dealing with a tragic separation. As he travels to an unknown destination by car, we learn he’s not coping well. After experiencing a strange vision that almost causes him and his car to go off-road, Wes decides to take a break at a nearby rest stop. At the rest stop, Wes tries to call his ex-partner and leaves various voice mail messages. However, this only frustrates Wes further, leading to him throwing his phone and breaking it before beginning a bonfire to burn any memorabilia of their relationship while drinking heavily.
The next morning, Wes wakes up and sees the aftermath of his private party. Urgently needing to use the bathroom, he discovers he’s not alone, and the toilet next to him is occupied by another. The stranger next to him (voiced by J.K Simmons) begins a conversation with Wes, quickly making him uncomfortable. Adding to this, Wes finds that he is now trapped in the dirty and disgusting restroom. Of course, there is also a lot more to the mysterious stranger in the cubicle next door than he could ever expect.
Glorious is best described as a horror film with aspects that most certainly feel Lovecraftian. There’s a mysterious yet haunting atmosphere on show here. For the majority of the runtime, there is only one setting and location, and the film features a small group of actors.
The plot succeeds in creating a fun mystery, especially when it comes to the stranger hiding in a bathroom stall. Plus, viewers will question Wes’s entire purpose and reason for being trapped in such a gross environment and will be curious if he will survive the journey. I found myself rather invested, and in the end, I couldn’t help but want a little more from its story. I was surprised at the various reveals, but some more clarity in certain key areas of the plot would have been enjoyed. That being said, I still found the reveals unpredictable, surprising and unexpected, which was a welcoming feeling upon my first viewing.
Visually, this film is quite strong, and I admired the high level of creativity. Those who enjoy a gross and bloody environment will enjoy everything on display. There’s a fun use of blood and colours, such as bright pink and purple, which also sets the tone wonderfully at various points (again, very Lovecraftian all the way). The performance from Ryan Kwanten is great, and his character goes through various emotions, even delivering a few chuckles with his comedic timing. It should be no surprise that having J.K Simmons voice the mysterious person in the stall next door to Wes is pure finesse. J.K. Simmons fits perfectly, managing to be both mysterious and highly disturbing and threatening.
Overall, movie lovers who enjoy films with Lovecraftian vibes will enjoy this film’s concept, premise, and the disturbing horrors on display. It’s a fun idea set in one location for most of its runtime and impressively is carried by only a small cast. The story is fun and engaging and consists of a few reveals, which were pleasing and unexpected upon my first watch. The actor Ryan Kwanten delivers a wild and fun performance, and the voice work of J.K Simmons is tremendous and haunting here. Visually, I love the level of creativity and use of colour and effects, but in the end, while I enjoyed the ride, I couldn’t help but want more clarity on certain areas of its story. Glorious (2022) is Available Exclusively on Shudder from August 18th!