With a tremendous voice-acting turn from JK Simmons, Glorious is occasionally an entertaining experience but doesn’t fully know what it wants to be.
From just the plot description, it is hard to describe everything that goes on in Glorious. Right as the film kicks off, we meet Gus (Ryan Kwanten, of True Blood), who has recently broken up with his girlfriend and is now on a road trip. He stops at a rest stop to get some food and use the bathroom and he ends up locked in a bathroom stall with this mysterious voice (J.K. Simmons) talking to him. While Gus originally thinks this voice is just some weirdo trying to make conversation with him at a rest stop, he soon realizes that the voice is very much not human. From here, things take a much more sinister turn, and Gus ends up having a bathroom experience that he will never forget, if he makes it out alive.
Glorious was one of the hardest movies I had to rate. There was a lot going for it, with an extremely original idea and two actors that can confidently carry the film also completely by themselves. I went into it with barely any expectations and, in the beginning of the film, I was extremely happy with how things were progressing. The script was oddly witty, but it fit the tone of the film and, with an under 90 minute runtime, there was little time to get bored or dwell on exposition. By the time Gus gets into the bathroom and both him and the audience realize what is really going on, things start to get shaky very fast.
The main issue that Glorious runs into is that, as a viewer, it is hard to understand what this film is trying to be. With Glorious premiering on Shudder, it was obvious that it was going to be a horror movie, or at least a thriller, but, for the most part, besides the random jump scare that happens a few times, Glorious feels like an unnecessarily comedic mystery. This is mainly because the filmmakers, specifically director Rebekah McKendry, don’t really know what they want this film to be. It is part break up story, part single location thriller, and part supernatural horror, but each of those very specific film genres don’t mesh together. Watching the film feels like a disconnected roller coaster, where you are getting thrown from one place to another without much of it making sense, no matter how much fun you’re having.
Even with these faults, Glorious is wildly entertaining. While some of the comedic moments are misplaced, they still help to keep the movie more unpredictable, which boosts up its entertainment value. There are definitely fun aspects to the film which not only help with its fast pace but also highlight Kwanten’s performance. For example, it is a pretty rare opportunity for an actor to drunkenly burn all of their ex’s possessions but ten minutes later have to fight for their life in a bathroom stall. The role of Gus allows Kwanten to experience almost every major emotion within the first hour of the film, which is a hard task to pull off. Besides Kwanten’s performance, Simmons is actually the main highlight of the film. He was perfectly cast in the role of this mysterious voice, and while the audience never fully gets the chance to see what he looks like, Simmons does more than enough to prove that whatever he is will be an intimidating force. His voice work is brooding yet sophisticated, where you can tell that every line delivery was done intentionally. For such a commanding vocal performance, having Simmons on board is probably one of the best choices the filmmakers could have made.
Even with Glorious being a mixed bag of sorts, there is something for most horror fans to enjoy. Whether it’s the attempted mesh of horror and comedy or the excessive amount of blood and gore when the film reaches its climax, there is hardly enough time for anyone to get bored with this one. If you go in with little to no expectations, you might be able to have fun with Glorious, even if it means that you will never use a rest stop bathroom again.
Glorious will premiere on Shudder on Thursday, August 18, 2022.