Glorious (2022): Movie Review & Ending Explained
Everything that you could have expected from a Lovecraftian escape-room horror film where the title alludes to ‘Glory Holes’, should be met when the end credits start to roll in the new Shudder offering ‘Glorious’. Directed by Rebekah McKendry and written by her husband David Ian McKendry, Joshua Hull, and Todd Rigney, this low-budget horror has the absurdism of cosmic horror infused with campy and disgusting thrills of lowbrow creature fares. Bolstered by the commanding voice performance by J.K. Simmons, this weird and macabre tale could very well become a cult favorite in the midnight watch section.
Glorious Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
Wes (Ryan Kwanten) is struggling to keep up with his surroundings when he stops at a remote rest stop. His relationship is just ended. Disheveled and seemingly heartbroken he could not help but ring his ex, Brenda’s (Sylvia Grace Crim), number. Despite telling himself that it is ‘done and dusted’. After a couple of fruitless attempts to connect with Brenda, Wes immerses himself in the drunken haze, with the help of half a bottle of whiskey.
After the night of drunken ecstasy comes the morning of a head-splitting hangover. Wes, who succumbed to his bouts of vomit, takes shelter in the nearest toilet. Surrounded by filth, Wes starts to come to his senses inside his stall. He realizes he is not alone in the otherwise deserted toilet. His stall has a glory hole with its adjacent stall and that one is occupied. His neighbor, with an unpronounceable name, starts a conversation with Wes.
After some minutes of quips and jibes their tete-a-tete gradually turns ominous as Wes finds that he cannot get out of the restroom, with the door being inexplicably locked shut. The occupant of the corner stall reveals himself as a cosmic god (J.K. Simmons). And he has a favor to ask from Wes. Wes needs to satisfy the physical need of the god, in order to save the universe. Wes obviously scoffs and brands the whole thing as some sort of sick joke at first. However, he quickly finds himself facing events that are inexplicable unless one is hallucinating.
Wes considers that possibility. But that theory gets negated once the caretaker of the rest stop, Gary (Andre Lamar), walks inside. Despite the god warning Wes of dire consequences, Wes has caught the attention of Gary and got him to open the door. That ends with a catastrophic result. The god finally shows that he means business when Gary is killed by him. For the greater good of the universe, of course.
Glorious Movie Review:
The script of Glorious aims high in terms of wacky and weirdness. The premise of a cosmic god trapped in a filthy toilet stall asking a favor from a hungover man gets the ball rolling and ‘Glorious’ runs away with it. The biggest asset of the story, along with the direction of Rebekah McKendry is coming to terms with its own silliness. The film does not shy away from the absurd, and neither does McKendry in portraying that.
The limited budget is appropriately used for the needs of special effects. It does not indulge in effects unless it is absolutely required. The result is more than acceptable visuals of the facets of the other worlds when the film does indulge. More often than not, the film relies heavily on the situational comedy-esque camaraderie between Wes and the god in hiding.
J.K. Simmons provides the voice of the never-seen god and he still manages to embody the spirit of his character. He is perfect as the witty, polite, and funny and yet, quite menacing destroyer of worlds. Ryan Kwanten, as Wes, has to do most of the acting, as it is mostly him whom we see. As someone who is trapped in a filthy toilet with a world-changing god, Kwanten is earnest when he wants to be and disgusting when the needs be. It is quite an almost-solo act from him.
Glorious Movie Ending, Explained: Who is that God in the stall?
The god, with the unpronounceable name, could be called a demi-god as well, by his own admission. The primary god, the one true creator never wanted to create life as we know it. Especially humans. The creator considered it a folly. That is why he created the demi-god, who is in the stall, to destroy humanity. Only that, now the demi-god has a change of heart and thinks humanity is worth saving.
What is the story with Wes?
In a shocking twist, Wes is implied to be a serial killer/molester. He has not broken up with Brenda as much as he has killed her. Brenda has found a stack of photos of frightened and abused women in her belongings of Wes. When Wes saw Brenda looking into those photos, there was a saddened smile on his face as he changed the grip of the kitchen knife he was already holding. A grip suitable for stabbing.
The god in the stall also condemns Wes in the end and tells him that they are the same creature of destruction. Wes’ own story about troubled childhood also seems to be aligning with the whole serial killer twist. That is why the god chose Wes to pay the ultimate price. To save the universe, Wes chose to pay the price, the liver freshly cut from his stomach; which in the end kills him.
Does Wes dream all of it?
The film in the end does throw the possibility of the entire thing being a concoction of Wes’ imagination. We have seen Wes indulging in illusions as he has called the number of Brenda, even though he already killed her. With that established early, and Wes drinking heavily, the film slyly incorporates the possibility of Wes dreaming all of it.
It seemed likely that Wes did like Brenda a lot. He probably loved her. The entire liver-sacrificing thing could be his penance for the crimes he has been committing for long. The never-seen god in the stall could very well be his long-hidden and forgotten humane self, asking and goading him for the penance.
Regardless of where your likings lie on this anti-climactic cliché of ‘It was all a dream’, the film should work for you. Because it does not explicitly tell you that it had been a dream, it merely hints at that. Like a shadow of a wink. If one likes that interpretation, they could take that. Otherwise, the film is one hell of a cosmic ride in itself.