“Men” are toxic, but we didn’t need Alex Garland to tell us that.

A horror movie entitled Men?

Yeah. Sounds about right.

However, Alex Garland’s latest film is so much more than a woke punchline. Men is a surreal thriller following a young woman, Harper (Jessie Buckley), who retreats to the English countryside following a tragedy. Her serene sanctuary soon transforms into a nightmare, when she discovers something OR someone is stalking her.

So. Let’s be honest, friends. Men are confusing creatures. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. And Alex Garland is obviously aware of this, applying these themes to a compelling narrative.

And yes. Men is a challenging, uncomfortable and divisive watch, harping upon the toxic traits men have displayed generation to generation, including gaslighting and abuse. It isn’t an allegorical story that will resonate with all viewers, mainly because a majority of viewers don’t enjoy unsettling topics or vague conclusions. I do think this one film that may require a second viewing to fully comprehend.

Although the narrative and overall film isn’t as strong as Garland’s previous works, the cinematography is gorgeously haunting with deeply beautiful yet harrowing visuals and the performances are top notch, driving us along the journey with sharp sincerity.

Jessie Buckley is an absolutely triumph. The Academy Award nominee just keeps getting better, with notable raw emotion and nuisance. Rory Kinnear, who plays most of the “men” Buckley’s Harper comes in contact with, is captivating and deeply unsettling. Two transcendent performances that further illustrate why A24 horror films are the cream of the crop.

Final Thoughts: Although not as strong as Garland’s precious works, Men is an interesting watch helmed by strong performances and cinematography. It will leave viewers with questions. And that’s okay.

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