Released: 20 May 2022 (US) 1 June 2022 (UK)
Written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation) and released by A24, Men initially seemed to be a particularly promising prospect. Following Harper (Jessie Buckley) as she attempts to recover from her abusive boyfriend’s suicide by taking a solo trip to the English countryside, Men sees her stumble into a dark and twisted world that mirrors the adversity in her past. Also featuring Rory Kinnear as the vast majority of the film’s male characters, Men seemed poised to be an exceptional and deeply artistic piece of folk horror.
Unfortunately, it fell somewhat flat. While some critics appreciated Men, the overall consensus on the film was less favorable, and it scraped a generally unimpressive average across various aggregation sites. This is owing to the fact that Men hinders itself in its own cryptic imagery, and it comes off as more self-indulgent than intelligent. While Jessie Buckley’s performance was commendable, the eerie CGI rendering of Rory Kinnear’s face onto a child’s body was haunting in all the wrong ways.
Ultimately, Men was a disappointment, and that was one of 2022’s worst surprises. From the same mind that created Sunshine and 28 Days Later, it’s a clear step down in quality, and considering the strength of Garland’s previous movies, it was all the more disappointing. While Men is far from a bad movie, it was simply not as good as it should have been, and that was one of the year’s most disappointing surprises.