FANTASTIC FEST: Glasshouse (2021)

You think the pandemic we’ve had has been strange? Well, in the world of Glasshouse, an airborne dementia known as The Shred has left humanity adrift with no memories left inside their brains, unable to even remember who they are. Meanwhile, a family has remained inside their airtight glasshouse until a stranger arrives who changes — and maybe ruins — everything they’ve worked so hard to build.

Director Kelsey Egan said, “I’ve been working towards directing features since I made my first short back in 2008, so to end up directing my first film in 2020 of all years feels like some form of dramatic irony. To shoot this intimate post-apocalyptic fable during the pandemic was a surreal experience.”

Even the location for this movie is strange and eerie. The Pearson Conservatory is a Victorian glasshouse marooned in the Eastern Cape of South Africa since 1881.

The occupants of this glasshouse are  Mother, her three daughters and one son. Their days are spent tilling the garden that keeps them fed, protecting one another from the outside world, conducting story rituals and creating stained glass windows to remind them of the past. But when one of the daughters, Bee, takes in an injured man, his manipulative ways may spell the end of this idyll.

Yet the girls are not without the ability to protect their family, as we see them murder an interloper and use the body to fertilize their crops. And their brother has begun to lose control, as exposure to The Shred has destroyed his mind.

At once post-apocalyptic, folk horror and even a riff on The Beguiled, there hasn’t been a film quite like Glasshouse ever. It’s a future without the need to show massive effects or change. Instead, it traps us inside the walls of the home as those very walls close in around its characters.

Glasshouse is playing during Fantastic Fest this week. We’ll update this post with information on how to see it for yourself when it goes into wide release.

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