Wes (Ryan Kwanten, Kill Chain, 2067) is having a day that is anything but glorious. He’s fallen asleep at the wheel, nearly driven off the road. He’s gotten drunk at a rest area and burned most of the things he took with him when he left his previous life, and for good measure, his pants as well. Now he’s hungover and pantsless in a filthy public restroom. That’s when God starts talking to him.
Well, Ghat (J.K. Simmons, American Renegades, The Tomorrow War) starts talking to him, and he claims to be a God. But whoever heard of a God hanging out at a glory hole? Certainly not Wes who promptly makes for the door. But Ghat is indeed a deity and he’s not going to let Wes leave until he hears him out, because “The universe has a favor to ask.”.
Director Rebekah McKendry (All the Creatures Were Stirring, Psycho Granny) and Glorious’ three writers Joshua Hull (Chopping Block, The Impersonators), David Ian McKendry (Sins in the Suburbs, Psycho Granny), and Todd Rigney (Found) wisely makes Ghat’s presence more believable by preceding his introduction with something even less believable. I mean would you stick your head in a rest area shitter? Especially when you were outside and could have puked into some nice clean bushes?
What follows is an incredible acting duet between Kwanten and the voice of J.K. Simmons as the unseen Ghat. “Don’t try and look at me” he warns Wes, who immediately ignores him and immediately regrets it. Both men deliver excellent performances that, along with some strong dialogue and direction, keep Glorious’ unlikely story from unraveling as it portends the end of the world or the end of one man’s world.
What follows is an incredible acting duet between Kwanten and the voice of J.K. Simmons as the mostly unseen Ghat. “Don’t try and look at me,” he warns Wes, who immediately ignores him and immediately regrets it. Both men deliver excellent performances that, along with some strong dialogue and direction, keep Glorious’ unlikely story from unraveling.
And it’s that straddling of both intimate and cosmic horror mixed with some incredibly dark humor that makes this tale of Cthulhu in a roadside loo such a great framework for these performances. Who would have thought that The Old Gods had as much family drama as the Roman and Greek pantheons? Similarly the more we learn about Wes, the less sure we are of whether to trust his point of view.
Glorious isn’t all two gents talking in the gents’ though. Wes’ attempts at escape punctuate the film and it does have some blood-soaked moments. There are also a couple of other characters who figure into the story. Gary (André Lamar, Some Kind of Christmas!, Fated Reunion), a state employee who has the misfortune of having this rest area on his route. And, more importantly, Brenda (Sylvia Grace Crim, Body Cam, Purgatory Road), the reason Wes is in the state he’s in. They both add a lot to the film, but ninety-nine percent of it rests on the shoulders of the two leads.
And if it seems like I’m not saying much about what Glorious is about, you’re right, I’m not. This is one of those films where you really don’t want to know much more than what the film tells you at the beginning. Rebekah McKendry has delivered a film that will keep you guessing as it effortlessly misdirects you as to where it’s going, especially the ending.
Shudder picked up the rights to Glorious ahead of the film’s debut at Fantasia this year and it’s easy to see why. You can see for yourself on August 18th when it debuts. If you’re looking for more along these lines, FilmTagger may have what you’re looking for.