In MEN (2022), a young woman faces the embodiment of the domination she suffered from an emotionally manipulative and abusive husband she tried to leave, only for him to kill himself as he promised her he’d do. This is an excellent horror film with an interesting social theme that is obvious yet not rubbed in the viewer’s face, while standing as a very creepy tale without it.
In this film, Harper leaves London for a few weeks’ relaxation at a rural English cottage following her husband’s suicide, which he’d threatened if she left him, and the guilt and anguish over it that now hang over her. Odd events start to occur as the village largely appears empty of women, and she finds herself having various strange or outright hostile encounters with the men who live there, which pile up to a nightmarish night under siege. These “men” may be a part of her guilt, a representation of the types of men who’ve hurt her in her life, or an entity, we’re not sure, but it all ties together nicely and offers her a choice at the end, only one of which will set her free.
As for the social theme, it’s about how some men treat women, outside my experience but a take I could respect. We see a patronizing cop, a vicious schoolboy, a hooligan, a repressed vicar who holds women responsible for his own sexual desires, and more. This aspect, delivered by Rory Kinnear in a mind-blowing performance matching if not eclipsing Jessie Buckley as Harper, is done in an extremely jarring and creepy way, particularly the body horror climax.
Overall, I quite liked this one, which I found well done and affecting for its highly focused premise.