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Monday, 23 May 2022 15:09

Yes, all ‘Men’

Good horror movies find ways to scare you. Great horror movies dig into why you’re scared. And the very best horror movies use well-executed scares and the thoughtfully-explored reasons behind them to comment on larger ideas and issues.

Misogyny and its impact are often found front and center in horror movies. From the very beginning, horror has displayed an awareness of the underlying societal struggle of women, though not always in a positive way – many films, particularly early on, exploited and weaponized the perceived cultural shortcomings of women, taking unsavory advantage of the power imbalance. That said, we have seen a more nuanced approach from some genre filmmakers as the years have passed. Not across the board, mind you – there are still plenty of reductive, regressive creators out there – but it’s better now than it was.

That brings me to “Men,” the new film from writer/director Alex Garland. The genre auteur has crafted a stunning and unsettling piece, one that burrows into the misogyny – both external and internal – with which women are too often confronted, all set against a deceptively idyllic backdrop whose bleakness can only be seen (at least at first) lurking in the shadows. Physical shadows, yes … but also shadows of the psyche.

Garland’s propensity for idiosyncratic and intense visuals is in full effect, counterbalancing the pastoral countryside with a lurid sinisterness lurking just beneath the surface. Rich and vivid and visceral, “Men” has a look that matches the conflicted chaos that lies at the heart of its unconventional narrative.

Published in Movies

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