The British Are Coming, Part 1: Men Are Bad

The Stream: Scares are too few to justify being in the horror genre

The Big Screen: Beautiful scenery, creepy images and some good effects.

The Final Bill: More of a psychological drama than a thrilling horror movie, if that’s what you’re looking for.

– Trip Fontaine
Director: Alex Garland
Writers: Alex Garland
Stars: Jessie Buckley, Rory Kinnear, Paapa Essiedu
Genre: Drama, Horror
Rating: R for disturbing and violent content, graphic nudity, grisly images and language
Runtime: 1 hour 35 minutes
Production Companies: A24, DNA Films
Platform: In theaters
Trailer: Bodies Bodies Bodies 

What’s cracking, Streamers?!? The British are coming to your cinemas twofold this week. We’re getting some tea and crumpets and enjoying these delights. First up, it’s a creepy, “elevated” horror offering called, Men. From director Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation) and A24, Men is an unmistakable metaphor about guilt, grief, toxic masculinity and relationships. Is it scary though? Is it supposed to be? Here’s whether Men may haunt you.

The plot of Men is simple. Harper (Jessie Buckley) is a recently widowed woman, who has rented a country estate to for a fortnight to get away from the city. Her husband, James (Paapa Essideu), died under unknown conditions, which you find out during the course of the film. Harper meets Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear), the kindly and goofy proprietor of the estate, upon her arrival alone in the country. Weird hijinks ensue including, as you’ve seen in the trailer, other men in the country with Geoffrey’s face.

Men is billed as a horror movie, and so the best way to judge it is whether or not it is scary. Unfortunately, it is not scary. There are definitely creepy things happening like Rory Kinnear’s face on every man Harper encounters. The isolation of the estate, the vastness of the country, and the colors throughout lend to that creepy feeling. Also, the music is really good and helps to calibrate an eeriness to the movie, but nothing goes beyond that even when there are the gross moments. Thus, the film leans heavily on the psychological drama that is happening within Harper. Buckley does a good job of portraying that. Her grief and trauma is palpable, but it leads to a fairly obvious place. That may be satisfying to some, but it wasn’t particularly satisfying to me. Good execution of a weak idea.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Ultimately, Men is a psychological drama with some horror elements. There are some creepy images that will stick with you, but it doesn’t service a particularly interesting story. There’s not really anything scary here, if that’s what you’re looking for. You either need to buy into the story or skip it all together. It’s good enough for a matinee viewing and a bowl of popcorn, but you don’t have to rush out to catch this one.