For sheer thrills and chills, nothing beats a good horror flick – and we're excited to report that there are some really awesome ones coming to Cineworld cinemas over the next few months. The Black Phone (24 June), Nope (22 July) and Don't Worry Darling (23 September) all look suitably scary, and should be especially gripping when viewed on one of Cineworld's giant screens.
Another horror film you might want to add to your must-see list is Alex Garland's Men (in Cineworld cinemas from 1 June). The British filmmaker has an impressive record when it comes to delivering scares, having produced 28 Days Later and its sequel 28 Weeks Later, directed Ex Machina and Annihilation, and written creepy novel The Beach, which was turned into a 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. So, we have every confidence that Men will provide a similarly visceral experience.
But what's the film about and what else do you need to know about it? We've rounded up some of the most important details to get you ready for one of the year's most anticipated horror events...
1. It's set at a scary country house
From The Others to Crimson Peak, some of the best horror films in living memory have been set in creepy houses in the countryside. Men follows this blueprint, focusing on a young woman (played by Jessie Buckley) who goes on holiday alone following her ex-husband's apparent suicide. What should be an idyllic rural break soon turns into a nightmare, as our heroine becomes haunted by mysterious apparitions. That might sound like a fairly standard plot for a psychological horror film, but trust us, there's plenty of originality here – and you'll be kept guessing to the very end.
2. The leading actress was on a TV talent show
The film's lead character, Harper, is played by Jessie Buckley, an actress who's appeared in a number of top television series (War & Peace, Endeavour, The Woman In White, Fargo), as well as a couple of acclaimed movies – including Maggie Gyllenhaal's feature directorial debut The Lost Daughter. But before all of that, Jessie appeared on the TV talent show I'd Do Anything, where she vied for the role of Nancy in the 2009 West End revival of the musical Oliver!. Unfortunately, she was pipped to the post, finishing a very creditable runner-up in the series. But we think you'll agree that it all turned out rather well for her in the end.
3. Rory Kinnear plays several characters
During her holiday, Harper meets a number of weird and eccentric locals, including the man who owns the house she's staying at, a clergyman who suggests that Harper might be responsible for her husband's death, an incompetent policeman, and a young boy in a clown mask. If they all look very similar to each other, that's because they're all played by the same person – namely, James Bond star Rory Kinnear. Having the same actor portray so many different characters provides an unsettling, almost hallucinatory ambience that's reminiscent of some of the Hammer Horror films of the 1960s and '70s. It certainly gave us the heebie-jeebies.
4. Alex Garland channels Evil Dead
Sam Raimi's 1981 horror flick Evil Dead is a classic of the genre – and it seems that Men director Alex Garland may be a fan. This movie features a memorable scene in which Harper is rushed by a mysterious foe, and – in pure Evil Dead style – it's shot from the point of view of the malevolent force rather than the person being targeted. Truly chilling, it really captures the grieving heroine's vulnerability, only adding to the overall sense of terror.
5. It's going to be “extraordinary”
For this project, Alex Garland once again teamed up with cinematographer Rob Hardy, with whom he worked on both Ex Machina and Annihilation. As their latest collaboration wrapped, Hardy shared a succession of pictures on his Instagram feed, showing some of the locations the team had used in the film. Accompanying the final image was an extended caption in which he name-checked several of the cast, as well as giving movie fans an idea of what they can expect. “Men has wrapped,” he started. “Thank you Alex Garland, Jessie Buckley, Rory Kinnear, and all of our stellar cast members as well as every single crew member who worked tirelessly through this storm of a movie.... prepare for something truly extraordinary, and reassuringly weird.”