The Next Horror Feature Men directed by Alex Garland will likely serve as a biblical allegory based on the Garden of Eden. There are several elements in the trailer that suggest the film is a parable, including the film’s cinematography, set design, and the cast and character blocking choices. With Garland’s filmography made up of more profound, often symbolically religious films, it’s no exaggeration to infer that Men will offer greater meaning than just the shapeshifting nightmare it promises.
Men is a 2022 horror film distributed by A24, a well-known production company which is well known for its hit movies such as Midsommar 2019 directed by Ari Aster, and Lighthouse 2019 directed by Robert Eggers. The company’s history in film production is particularly well known in the horror scene, having released original horror features prolifically over the past few years. This list will include Men which is set to premiere at Cannes ahead of its big US release on May 20, 2022. The trailer features Jessie Buckley (star of Charlie Kaufman’s I’m thinking of ending things) playing Harper, a widowed woman who needs a fresh start in the English countryside after her husband’s suicide. She meets a character played by Rory Kinnear (recently appeared in David Jenkin’s Our flag means death) where she decides to settle. Rory Kinnear appears to be playing multiple characters, including a mysterious character who stalks Harper, a manipulative priest, and some sort of innkeeper among other antagonistic personalities. Although the trailer for the movie A24 is full of gruesome imagery involving shapeshifting and a home invasion, what stands out the most is the film’s Garden of Eden symbolism.
The story of the Garden of Eden revolves around the first man and woman God ever created, so given the contents of the Men trailer, it’s unlikely to be a direct retelling of the biblical tale, but rather a parable. It’s not entirely a coincidence that, aside from Harper’s husband (played by Paapa Essiedu) appearing in explanatory context, Men’s the cast consists of one man and one woman, alongside Adam and Eve with Buckley and Kinnear. Taking into account the history of Alex Garland in cinema with religious symbolism, alongside the critical success of films like that of Darren Aronofsky mother!, the prediction that there’s more to this new folk horror than meets the eye is believable.
the Men The trailer has a lot of Garden of Eden symbolism
The trailer for Men contains several examples of symbolism and references on the nose relating to the Genesis story of the Garden of Eden. A prime example of this occurs when Jessie Buckley approaches a tunnel and screams into it, hearing the echo of her own voice. It’s unclear whether the tunnel leads into the English countryside Harper has decided to settle in or in the opposite direction, but the tunnel very clearly has a unique design. The theory’s Reddit post points out that the stones in the tunnel are arranged to resemble snakeskin (the snake theme is used regularly in other biblical tales, an example being David Tennant’s costume in good omens), and also that the title card falls at the end of the tunnel looks the same. These scales can naturally be seen as a reference to the serpent from the Garden of Eden which approaches Eve when she is alone and tempts her to eat fruit from a forbidden tree. Eve choosing to eat the fruit she was forbidden from eventually convincing God to drive her and Adam out of Eden. “The Forbidden Fruit” is referenced by Rory Kinnear’s first character in the trailer when he jokingly warns Harper not to eat the fruit in the “garden.” While on the nose, the interaction serves to foreshadow a train of events that may resemble the original biblical story.
While the countryside that Jessie Buckley’s character has discovered appears to be perfect and serene like Eden from Genesis, after eating the fruit she might begin to see the deterioration of her tempting tranquility due to supernatural events escalating all around. from her. There is a brief instance shown where all the fruit from the mentioned tree falls from its branches as she watches in horror. Another scene shows Harper watching a man disappear out of nowhere in front of the same tree. It’s unclear if Kinnear will play a character to symbolize the serpent, but one would assume that every character he plays can be lumped into the role of Adam, though possibly a twisted version of whoever acts both as serpent and companion.
There are title cards interspersed with scenes from A24 Men in the trailer that leak what appear to be various Green Man statues. The Green Man is a legendary pre-Christian idol that is often hung or displayed as a motif even in European churches today. It symbolizes fertility, rebirth and growth in nature like the turn of spring. This corresponds to the superfluous imagery of forests in Men and how the film seeks to explore the religious and mystical facets of a garden, particularly as the proverbial representation of Eden.
Men Could be a parallel for mother!
mother! is a 2017 Darren Aronofsky (director of Black Swan and Requiem for a dream) psychological horror that can, in conjunction with Men, be described as a biblical allegory. Jennifer Lawrence plays Javier Bardem’s wife, replacing Mother Earth in Aronofsky’s parable. The film effectively depicts the global conflict of climate change by depicting an abusive relationship between the husband and wife they portray. The abuse Lawrence’s character faces in the film is allegorical of the disrespect the environment has earned.
The reason mother! could work as a parallel movie to Men is because of the relevant framing of their narratives. Both feature films develop a character who can be placed in a modern predicament and location and the film still manages to translate its folkloric symbolism through an extended religious metaphor. mother ! Bardem and Lawrence play the roles of God and Mother Earth through the lens of marital domestic violence, just as Buckley and Kinnear will mirror Adam and Eve through a relevant struggle that men and women face in modern society. . It’s likely that Garland’s Garden of Eden parable will unfold through the lens of a widow traumatized by both the death of her husband and her mysterious new stalker. Common themes of male oppression that can be extrapolated from Men trailer alone, the isolating male gaze and unsought after pursuit can be linked to a universal female experience and can sympathize even more with the proverbial Eve surrogate “Harper”.
The theory: Men is a biblical allegory
Proof that Men will be a parable of the Garden of Eden can be derived not only from the trailers, but also from the previous directorial work of Alex Garland. His psychological sci-fi thriller Ex-Machina takes place in beautiful green pastures all its own, isolated from a world that proves less desirable than the land of Nathan (a scientist played by Moon Knight Oscar Isaac) thrives and brings new creations and robotic beings to life. The main robot Nathan created and the programmer he invites to hang out at his workplace and luxury can also be loosely related to Adam and Eve, since the film shares themes of creation and exploration of sexuality. . The creation of life and its simultaneous self-destruction is a cinematic element that carries over to Garland’s 2018 sci-fi horror Annihilation. A more overt parallel to the story of the Garden of Eden is expected from a director who so often incorporates his motifs into his work. Through story, cinematography and setting, Men is virtually confirmed as a biblical allegory.
There remains potential for the film to focus the majority of its subtext psychological terror on the inner workings of shapeshifters, as Rory Kinnear takes various forms in the trailer. Shapeshifters are an often unexplored plot in horror movies, but something Garland has covered before in Annihilation with The Entity. If the religious references in Men are used more as a plot device to create a weirder atmosphere, then at least there’s more room for those theories to flourish after the film’s release and do a process of analysis that is not that wide.
From the main cast of A24 Men comprised of a man and a woman, to trailer footage that can be correlated to aspects of Genesis’ Tale of Eden, and finally to the previous directorial work of Alex Garland himself who savors the religious subtext, one can theorize that Men will not only be a biblical allegory, but a parable of the Garden of Eden. The serpentine texture of the central tunnel is obvious enough to cast suspicion on the underlying meaning of the upcoming film. However, whether or not the symbolism is as blatant as Rory Kinnear’s chastising quote in the trailer regarding Jessie Buckley’s consumption of garden fruits like “The Forbidden Fruit,” that remains to be seen.
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