In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.
The Retreat, a lesbian slasher directed by Pat Mills and written by Alyson Richards, had me from the moment I read the words “lesbian slasher.” As a long time slasher/horror movie fan, I’ve loved movies like Halloween, The Strangers, or Hush. The only thing missing was the LGBTQ aspect of it all. Most slashers, if they ever have queer characters, have them as easily disposable and never the star of the story.
That’s where The Retreat comes in. The lesbians in this movie are the main characters. They’re not disposable. They’re not forgettable. And they certainly aren’t here for the bury your gays trope. If anything, they’re here to subvert that trope and show viewers that LGBTQ people can have their own slashers where they are the stars and the ones fighting for their lives against a foe that wants to cut them down at any cost.
The one expectation that I had, and that The Retreat filled, was the slasher portion of it all. It was brutal without being filled with gore. The “bad guys” were the worst of the worst and the kind of evil that lurks behind a kind smile. And the way that everything fell into place felt carefully put together, from the writing to the pacing of it all when things started to get really crazy.
But my favorite part of it all is how the main couple fought for each other. Renee and Valerie, played by Tommie-Amber Pirie and Sarah Allen, weren’t perfect. In fact, that made them even more relatable. Who doesn’t have their own problems, especially when packing up for a trip away for the weekend? But when it comes down to it, when all the chips are stacked against them, they fight for each other.
What you’re left with is a slasher/horror movie that feels earned. Yes, it’s twisted and makes you question whether or not you should take that trip to the remote cabin that your family or loved one keeps talking about. But it feels like each step taken resulted in the ending we deserved and not the one that we’re so used to getting because the bury your gays trope has turned us all jaded.
So, should you watch Pat Mills and Alyson Richards lesbian slasher The Retreat? Absolutely. And after you’re done, after the adrenaline has chilled out, make sure to spread the word and let your other LGBTQ friends know. This is a movie worth watching with a cast of characters that are interesting, complex, and fighters til the very end. You won’t regret it.
I know I sure don’t.
The Retreat is available to stream, and in select theaters, on May 21st.
Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)