Glasshouse (2021) – Film Review
Director: Kelsey Egan
Cast: Jessica Alexander, Kitty Harris, Adrienne Pearce
By Roger Crow
You might remember The Beguiled, Clint Eastwood’s gothic Western in which a wounded soldier was taken in by a bunch of attractive young women and nursed back to health. Okay, you may have seen the remake. Either way, it’s a solid story ripe for reinvention.
In this dreamy sci-fi yarn from South Africa, there’s a sense of deja vu, but the whole thing is so well scripted and acted that you can forgive the feeling of familiarity.
The movie opens with a bang as a stranger tries to pinch veg from the residence’s allotments, and is shot in the head. The family within the eponymous structure lives by strict rules, so when another wounded stranger turns up and happens to be a handsome hunk, there’s soon more tension than a knicker elastic-testing factory.
Thrown into the mix is The Shred, a toxin that erases memory, so that Alzheimer’s-style threat looms as large as the Covidesque scenario.
It helps that Jessica Alexander, Kitty Harris, Adrienne Pearce and Hilton Pelser (all excellent) don’t carry a huge amount of baggage from previous films.
Director Kelsey Egan does a fine job of sustaining the interest, and there are some melodious interludes.
It’s rare for a fantasy yarn to be this well thought out, even if the subtext about plant fertility and pollinating in a steamy environment is as subtle as a bull running riot in a delicate goods shop.
As disturbing as any horror, but also as elegant as an art house movie, which it is a rare balance, this slightly steampunk affair feels very relevant for the strange times we’re living in.
Though hard to compare it to any other genre offering, there are subtle echoes of Zardoz, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Wicker Man.
Glasshouse might not be a huge financial hit, though here’s hoping, but highbrow critics and lovers of intelligent fantasy cinema will no doubt love this haunting, and very beguiling drama.