Confined to their glasshouse, a family survives The Shred, a toxin that erases memory. Until the sisters are seduced by a Stranger who shatters their peace and stirs a past best left buried.
Starring: Jessica Alexander, Kitty Harris, Anja Taljaard, and Adrienne Pearce
Directed by: Kelsey Egan
Written by: Emma Lungiswa De Wet and Kelsey Egan
A Fantasia International Film Festival Review
A “Glasshouse” can easily be broken, and this one is no exception to that. The world has changed because of a toxin in the air that erases memories. It has forced people permanently indoors, or having to wear a mask when outside. The family unit here has made the most of a glasshouse to protect themselves against this airborne enemy. They’ve developed rules and ways of daily life in order for them to survive, and keep their memories alive.
In no way is that easy, but Mother (Adrienne Pearce) is strict in her ways. She’s tasked with looking over Bee (Jessica Alexander), Evie (Ania Taljaard), Daisy (Kitty Harris), and Gabe (Brent Vermeulen). Each have roles to play within the home, and even outside. Yes, they have special masks that allows them to go outside, and make use of the resources around the house. They also have someone stand guard at times making sure no one comes near them. It appeared to be working fine until Bee shoots someone, but instead of leaving them to die she brings them inside. The Stranger (Hilton Pelser) might end up being a friend, or threaten the entire order of their home.
At first glance, this starts like just another story of people having to survive under a much different set of circumstances. The audience might focus on this airborne virus, but that’s just the cause of everything, and not what’s ultimately important here. The rituals might seem odd at first, but don’t dismiss them. They are the starting point at figuring this out along with every time one of the family members takes the time to remember something, or looks at their possessions. Once the audience figures out what the family is truly trying to preserve they can have appreciate the complexities to this story.
When the Stranger enters the picture it’s a bit of a distraction at first. Of course the audience and even the family will pay close attention to his intentions. Is he going to play along and find a role within this family, or does he have different motives here? He does set a divide amongst the young women, which ultimately unravels the big twist in this story. A twist that ties in with everything that’s at stake for the family.
The glasshouse is a visual pleasure to look at from the outside, but what it holds inside is of greater importance. It’s also a symbol of just how fragile life is at this point, and how easily this family can be changed at any moment. The story has a big reveal, and credit everyone involved for how they build to that point. The cast has a bigger job than usual because some are playing characters that aren’t sure of their true selves. They really help bring out the mystery early on, and hammer home the dramatic conclusion. With that, I give “Glasshouse” 4 pools of blood.
“Glasshouse” is playing as part of the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival.