Inside ‘Men’: A Toxic Masculinity Horror Movie With a Jaw-Dropping Finale
On the basis of 2018’s Annihilation and now Men, acclaimed writer/director Alex Garland has become the master of jaw-dropping, brain-melting endings. Although if you ask him about the phantasmagoric finale of his latest, he admits that, at first, he found himself more than a bit disappointed by his lack of originality.
“With my daughter, I was watching this TV series called Attack on Titan. I was looking at the way the creatures in Attack on Titan, which all have human forms, are represented, and I was thinking this is so strange and inventive, and I’m just being lazy. This body-horror transformation thing—I’m too familiar with this. I know how it’ll end up looking,” he states shortly before the film’s May 20 theatrical premiere. “Attack on Titan takes naked human forms and does something really unsettling by not doing very much. And it was that. I thought, come on man, you’re not doing well enough!”
No matter such self-recriminations, Garland most certainly does well enough with Men, a harrowing and hallucinatory horror story about Harper (Jessie Buckley), a young woman who takes up temporary residence at an English country estate in the aftermath of a mysterious traumatic incident involving her husband (Paapa Essiedu). There, she’s shown around by the manor’s owner Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear), a cheery fellow with slightly messy hair and large teeth. Before long, Harper encounters a collection of additional, less welcoming males, from a scratched-up naked stranger in the woods, to a dodgy gray-haired vicar, to a nasty adolescent boy. More unnerving still, while Harper doesn’t seem to overtly notice it, all of these men boast the same Rory Kinnear visage.