Glorious (2022)

Director: Rebekah McKendry
Writers: Joshua Hull, David Ian McKendry, Todd Rigney
Cast: Ryan Kwanten, J.K. Simmons, Sylvia Grace Crim, André Lamar
Producers: Christian Armogida, Morgan Peter Brown, Jason Scott Goldberg, Bob Portal
Music: Jake Hull
Cinematographer: David Matthews
Editor: Joseph Shahood
Cert: 15 (TBC)
Running time: 78mins
Year: 2022

What’s the story: Wes (Kwanten) discovers his terrible life can get worse when he finds himself trapped in a rest stop toilet with a demonic god, Ghat (Simmons), in the next stall. Ghat needs something from Wes, and if he refuses the outcome could be less than glorious for everyone.

What’s the verdict: Rebekah McKendry’s cheeky little shocker could have easily been a short film (or a podcast play). But along with her three writers, including husband Ian David McKendry, she has fashioned a visually bouncy comedy-horror that paces its revelations and surprises out across 78 brisk minutes. Crucially, it also knows when to land a funny and when to turn toward the shadows, Lovecraft style.

As Wes, Ryan Kwanten’s twitchy performance captures the off-kilter mood even before J.K. Simmons’ ancient, malevolent deity arrives. It is when Wes realises his situation however that the fun begins. McKendry teases this out, using Simmons’ warm-yet-weary-sounding voice only performance for full comic effect. After Wes has vomited into the toilet, to prove its omniscience Ghat suggests it lists the people whose microcosms of fecal matter the man now has on his face. Later, Wes interrupts the god’s backstory exposition by taking a much needed and protracted toilet break.

Handy for the budget is that Ghat (his full name is far more difficult to pronounce) cannot be looked upon without the observer going mad. A Lovecraftian tentacled being, with a glory hole for a mouth, is painted on the cubicle wall to hint at what dwells within. Glorious is not the first horror film to confine its action to the lavvy. 2013’s Stalled kept its zombie apocalypse locked in the latrine, and horror cinema brims with memorable toilet moments (plus that scene from Dreamcatcher).

But, Glorious earns points for making its sweaty lead character someone whose life is already going down the toilet. Meaning the maybe apocalyptic situation is not so out of his ordinary he cannot function (literally). McKendry et al tease what Wes’ mission might be through the film’s title and the demonic god’s picture, but still offer surprises when the moment, er, comes.

Flashbacks featuring Sylvia Grace Crim add variety to the visuals, and André Lamar arrives at the right moment to up the dramatic stakes. But this is essentially a two-hander, with Kwanten (frequently resembling a young Kris Kristofferson) and Simmons creating sparks as the film reaches its climax. A climax that packs one more twist, reshaping everything you’ve seen.

Like the best trips to the loo, Glorious is quick, efficient, and leaves you satisfied.

Rob Daniel
Twitter: rob_a_Daniel
Podcast: The Movie Robcast

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