On Friday, c A new film by 51-year-old English writer and director Alex Garland, Men, opens in theaters. Garland is not a celebrity author on the scale of your Marty, your Quentins, your PTA. But for people obsessed with twisted, awkward, finely calibrated science fiction, the new Garland project is a very important thing. Menabout a grieving widow who is stuck in some kind of bucolic horror, already delighted.

I happen to consider myself a Garland. I fell in love with it after 2007 The sun, Danny Boyle’s highly underrated film about a bunch of doomed astronauts (they have to give nuclear nuclear fire to the sun!) for which Garland wrote the script. I thought I saw everything he ever did; I even read some of his artwork. But just last week, browsing his Wikipedia entry (classic Garland Head activity), I learned I missed Dread. Film adaptation of the cult comic of 2012 2000 AD was not only a producer and written by Garland – according to his star, Carl Urban, Garland also took on the directorial duties of Pete Travis. In the following years DreadGarland has established himself as one of our greatest working directors with his (official) debut Former carhis next steps Annihilationand TV series Developers. Dread it’s a high-profile comic book film that feels like a direct contrast to Garland’s subtle works, so it makes sense that the film is rarely mentioned when fans discuss its most far-sighted projects. But as I learned this week during my inaugural viewing Dread– so it should be.

The plot is a happy goal: in a collapsing world, Dread is a judge, in fact a state-sanctioned guardian. During the trip with the mutant psychic-newcomer Judge (played by Olivia Tyrlby), he was trapped in a massive apartment building by a crew called the Ma Ma Klan. To survive, judges have to kill quite a lot all: Violence begins immediately and never, never stops. Smash brains, melt heads, cheeks gnaw bullets. Blood, viscera and body parts are sprayed strangely, kaleidoscopically. In an interview, Garland said he was inspired by high-speed photography of nature documentaries: “Can you turn violence into something purely aesthetic? Can it be so abstract that it becomes really beautiful? ” I say this with all sincerity: you can really say that this violence was created by someone who cares.

It is a commitment to the material – to the creation Dread the best version of oneself is shining in everything. Domhol Gleason, future star Former car, shows the surprisingly erroneous completion of the cliché about Tech Guy, reluctantly occupied by bad people. The dialogue is solid, definitely a cartoon, but there’s also a brief riff that we’re all just meat in a giant meat grinder, and the Judges are just spinning the giant handles of this giant meat grinder, which is grotesquely fascinating. Despite the grand and bloody attributes, the story revolves around the relationship between Dread Urban and novice judge Tyrlby. It feels truly human.

And if there is one, undoubtedly, an elite element Dread, it is a drug. The Ma Ma clan makes money by producing a drug called Slo-Mo. You take it through an inhaler; it slows down life allllll wayyyy dooowwwwn. Every time a character indulges in sucking a Slo-Mo inhaler, we see how the dark world is transformed. Garland worked closely with VFX chief John Tum to get the right effect. He said they worked on it until the very end of post-production to find out “how far you can pull the viewer into an amazing hallucinogenic space … as far as you can get.” Slo-Mo does what any good fake movie should do, so want to try it in real life.

The question is whether Dread should be “counted” as the official film of Garland, the answer is difficult. When Los Angeles Times First reported that Garland took control in the middle of production, Garland and Travis responded with a joint statement / peace attempt: “From the beginning, we decided on an unorthodox collaboration to make the film. This situation has been misinterpreted. ” The LA Times also cites a source who says that although Travis “is no longer involved in post-production, he is monitoring progress over the Internet.”

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