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Alex Garland’s cryptically titled Men premieres with an equally cryptic teaser

The A24 film stars newly anointed Oscar nominee Jessie Buckley

Toussaint Egan is an associate curation editor, out to highlight the best movies, TV, anime, comics, and games. He has been writing professionally for over 8 years.

Nearly two years after his sci-fi thriller miniseries Devs premiered on FX/Hulu, and over four years since the release of 2018’s Annihilation, Alex Garland has returned with the horror drama Men starring Jessie Buckley (I’m Thinking of Ending Things), Rory Kinnear (Black Mirror), and Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You). A24 released the first teaser trailer for the 2022 release on Wednesday.

Known for his penchant for cerebral sci-fi stories, Men appears to be Garland’s strangest project yet, eschewing translucent androids and shiny quantum computers in favor of lush forests and claustrophobic darkness. Very little is known about the film’s premise, apart from it centering on a young woman’s vacation in the English countryside following her husband’s death. The film’s first teaser manages to reveal even less, while summoning a palpable sense of foreboding.

The trailer opens with a shot of Jessie Buckley’s character walking through a forest towards the entrance of a dark tunnel. As the echo of her voice travels through the passage, the scene cuts to her character walking between the pews of a church before approaching a man (Rory Kinnear) standing beside an apple tree before abruptly disappearing amid a blood-curdling scream. As apples begin to fall from the tree, the scene again cuts to Buckley’s character turning down a road, now wearing a raincoat where she wasn’t before and staring at a strange shadowy figure stalking through a graveyard. The scene once again cuts to Buckley’s character inside of a house, shouting at a menacing blood-drenched face peering through a mail slot before once again cutting back to her inside the tunnel, now fleeing from an unknown figure who notices her before immediately chasing after her.

There’s a ton of biblically-charged imagery to find here. Between the verdant forests and aforementioned apples, the film’s title card is seen over a backdrop of a snake writhing across the screen. Could Alex Garland be taking a page out of Darren Aronofsky’s mother! to tell his own story of maternal/eschatological horror in Men?

We’ll find out when Men(!) releases in theaters on May 20.

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