Wes is not in a good place in life, the back seat of his car overloaded with the remnants of his last ruined relationship, falling asleep at the wheel and pulling off at a highway rest stop where even the vending machine refuses to cooperate. Tearfully calling Brenda over and over all he gets is voicemail, and in a fit of temper he smashes his phone then gets wild drunk as he burns his belongings, the symbolic bridges to the past up in smoke.
Woken by a strange light and staggering to the men’s room he is unprepared for a greeting from the next stall, a voice from behind a strange mural on the wall of the cubicle, a disturbing yet erotic mural of a chimeric figure, a woman with her head a swarm of tentacles; the stranger insists on conversation, and finding the exterior door locked Wes has no alternative but to listen to the story the corporeal form of the god Ghatanothoa has to tell.
The gods rarely speak to mortals and for that mortals should be grateful; as observed in Dogma, they are rarely able to withstand the physical presence of a god, and invariably the presence of a deity will lead to a request which will accept no refusal, and it is no different when Wes (Them’s Ryan Kwanten) meets “Ghat” (Night Sky’s J K Simmons), glorious and overwhelming even in his earthbound form.
Directed by Rebekah McKendry from a script by Joshua Hull and David Ian McKendry based on a story by Todd Rigney, Glorious is largely a two-hander in a single location unappealing from the outset and increasingly sluiced in bodily fluids and surplus internal organs as Ghat accepts no evasions and disposes of any distractions which arise, literally making it rain blood at one point, persistently explaining why Wes should make suitable offering to appease the needs of his physical form, a small sacrifice considering what is to be gained should he concede.
An unconventional idea in an unusual location, McKendry makes good use of the limited space and keeps the lighting changing and Kwanten moving, his reverie broken with occasional interludes, visions of Brenda (Sylvia Grace Crim) as she was and now lives in the memories of Wes, “so tied with your misery that she’s practically here with us now,” replaying moments of their relationship in the hope that there might be a different outcome.
Wes an unlikely candidate to be asked to assist in saving the universe, his internalised rage reserved for himself and overpowering any urge to do good, does he believe he deserves redemption? Indeed, does the world? Having stepped through the initial absurdity swiftly, the subsequent weight of the imposition makes it difficult to develop the outrageous premise, the middle of Glorious floundering uncertainly before finding itself again in the finale, unexpected but perhaps inevitable.
Glorious will be streaming on Shudder from Thursday 18th August