Opening Friday, May 21st in Select Theaters and on VOD
Renee and Valerie, a couple at a crossroads in their relationship, leave the city to spend the week at a remote cabin with friends. But when they arrive, their friends are nowhere to be found. As they stumble through their relationship woes, they discover they are being hunted by a group of militant extremists who are determined to exterminate them.
I was surprised at the quality of this movie. This movie is well-acted, well-directed, and a good horror film that lets the LGBT community celebrate their strength and determination.
The plot is not exactly original as we have seen films that are similar in the basic premise of bad guys kill on video in front of a live audience. But the twist is of course that in this case, gay people are the target of their violent hate.
If I have any criticism of this movie it is the same that I have of most horror films and that is that so much of it is filmed in the dark. I know it adds to the spooky, scary appeal of this type of film, but I like to see what is happening with clarity.
That said, I still thought this was a really good movie and I see it as a first-rate legitimate LGBT film worthy of a mainstream box office draw.
The idea for the film originated when my wife and I spent the night at a remote wilderness retreat in the middle of nowhere. We never saw our hosts but kept feeling like we were being watched. We were hyper-aware of how exposed we felt and vulnerable we were so far from the comfort of the city. A vulnerability we felt not just as women but also as queer women. In a remote setting we were at the mercy of our surroundings and strangers we weren’t sure we could trust. In many ways, times have never been better for the LGBTQ+ community. Especially if you live in a progressive city but what happens when we leave that safety and comfort? THE RETREAT explores that fear.
Another big driving factor for writing this film was feeling frustrated by the representation of queer characters in genre movies. Queer bodies have a long history of being disposable in media. The ‘bury your gays’ trope is real. In so many movies and shows, the queer female characters are often killed or worse, revealed to be the ‘psychotic killer’ and then killed. Our limited representation is often expendable and only exists to support the heteronormative narrative. I really wanted to write a script where the queer women didn’t turn on each other but instead turned to each other to survive. It was important to me that the gay women in THE RETREAT work together to turn the tables on the villains and live.