The following is a spoiler-free review of Fantasia Fest film Glasshouse.
Given that we’re still very much in a pandemic era, it’s not surprising that horror films are using that for inspiration in storytelling. Kelsey Egan’s savage fairytale Glasshouse is clearly inspired by our current predicament. It centers on Mother (Adrienne Pearce) and her three daughters, Bee (Jessica Alexander), Evie (Anja Taljaard), and Daisy (Kitty Harris).
Together they live inside the ominous glasshouse as they try to protect themselves from a deadly toxin that causes dementia. They’re joined by brother Gabe (Brent Vermeulen), who can no longer take care of himself due to his exposure.
To tread outside the walls of their sanctuary and take care of harvesting crops, sentry duties, and other chores, the girls must get fully dressed up in masks and protective gear. They have a routine and partake in extensive rituals to try and keep themselves safe.
But all of this is disrupted when one day Bee allows an injured man (Hilton Pelser) into their home. Here is where the story really begins to remind one of The Beguiled, with that same hazy, dream-like quality.
Glasshouse is an eerie fairytale with a dark heart
Glasshouse is a refreshing, grounded story anchored by strong performances. Despite its ethereal premise and sci-fi elements, it still feels earthy and tethered to our current reality, which is what makes it feel so eerie and spine-tingling at times. Even when it meanders a little aimlessly, it still draws the viewer in with compelling interactions and relationship-building.
Once the stranger enters the henhouse, so to speak, that’s when the story starts to take on more weight as it begins to build into a heavy crescendo. The lives of these women will never be the same, and in this world where all of us are tormented by isolation more than ever before, the themes and ideas presented by Glasshouse are likely to strike a chord with many viewers.