Alex Garland’s third feature film Men has been praised as his boldest experiment yet by critics.
A press screening of the folk horror took place ahead of its premiere at Cannes Film Festival later this month, with first reactions praising the director of Annihilation, Ex Machina and sci-fi series Devs for keeping things surreal.
Men follows young widow Harper (Jessie Buckley) who has rented a holiday home in the English countryside as she grieves the death of her husband (Paapa Essiedu). As shown in the trailer, she also appears to be seeing Rory Kinnear as various different residents in the village.
Early reactions have described the film as a blend of Hereditary and Get Out, which is “intense, opaque, challenging and visceral as hell”.
You can check out more reactions below.
I saw Alex Garland’s new movie MEN. It’s his most stripped-down and primal film yet. Removing the sci-fi veneer of Garland’s previous work reveals he’s actually the most talented surrealist director working today. The ending of MEN is also even weirder than ANNIHILATION’s ending. pic.twitter.com/1FNStblELz
— Jake (@jacobkleinman) May 2, 2022
Alex Garland’s MEN is the bastard child of HEREDITARY and GET OUT. A cerebral, surreal horror allegory with a deeply fucked up 3rd act that really fucking goes for it. See it with someone and plan for coffee or cocktails to argue about it afterward. I dug the hell out of it. pic.twitter.com/qHxvOc5Z37
— C. Robert Cargill (@Massawyrm) May 3, 2022
MEN: Alex Garland’s most nakedly horror movie, and also his weirdest. A surreal folk horror film that starts off as an unsettling home invasion thriller and gets stranger (and gorier) from there. I loved it?? Audiences will hate it!
— Hoai-Tran Bui (@htranbui) May 2, 2022
Alex Garland’s MEN is going to be even more of a conversation-starter than ANNIHILATION or EX MACHINA, but I suspect there’s going to be much less agreement about what’s going on. It’s intense, opaque, challenging, and visceral as hell. It’ll make people angry, at the very least. pic.twitter.com/ao19AhN6w6
— Tasha Robinson (@TashaRobinson) May 2, 2022
Can confirm I’ve never seen anything quite like Alex Garland’s #Men. A deeply enthralling and chilling exploration of grief, guilt and gender dynamics — a bold approach that requires powerhouses like Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear. pic.twitter.com/KnFneFl4vb
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) May 2, 2022
i’ll say this for Alex Garland’s half-formed but fully intriguing MEN, which cleaves much closer to the abstruseness of Annihilation than its discourse-baiting title might suggest: it’s rare to see a movie that evokes Richard Curtis and Lars von Trier in almost equal measure.
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) May 2, 2022
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Garland explained how Men shares some DNA with his previous film, Annihilation.
“In my mind, a film like Men is connected to a film like Annihilation,” Garland said. “They’re very much about how you’re feeling about something. Men is a gut-level film. I’m proud of Ex Machina, I really love it, but it’s an intellectual film. Men is not, I think.”
He added: “When I say it’s a slightly aggressive film, that’s what I mean: It’s coming at the viewer. It’s a gentle movie sometimes, there’s lots of silly humour in there, but it’s also a bit delinquent.”
Men is scheduled to be released in US cinemas on May 20 and UK cinemas on June 1, 2022.