Fantasia International Film Festival audiences get a unique, post-apocalyptic fantasy with Glasshouse. This South African film is the feature-film debut as director for Kelsey Egan, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Emma Lungiswa De Wet, also making her feature-film debut. In this strange alternate reality, a toxin known as “The Shred” is in the air everywhere, erasing the memory of all living things. One family has been able to keep safe by living inside a glass house away from others, until a stranger appears and threatens their secure way of life. This genre-bending film almost feels like a Victorian period-piece, but the end-of-the-world scenario moves the film closer to horror/thriller territory.
There is a lot of intrigue to the plot. Especially knowing there is a toxin that makes people lose their memories, every person in the Glasshouse an unreliable narrator. The audience is never quite sure of who is right and who is good until the final moments. It allows for tension to build and for there to be many shocking revelations. At times certain aspects of the plot are uncomfortable, but by the end it comes together nicely. While the entire small cast is wonderful, the most memorable performances come from Jessica Alexander (Get Even, Penny on M.A.R.S.) and Anja Taljaard (Hidden Within, Double Echo) as sisters Bee and Evie. Between the performances, costumes, set design, and story, it’s difficult to not be swept away by this film.
Glasshouse paints a beautifully haunting picture of the burden behind our memories and asks the question if it’s better to forget.
OVERALL RATING: 8/10