Warning: This text incorporates spoilers for The Retreat on VOD.
Most LGBTQ viewers of movie and TV are acquainted with the phrase “Bury Your Gays,” a time period used to check with the unlucky trope of queer characters being statistically extra prone to die than straight characters in fiction. From Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Lexa in The 100, queer audiences—and most particularly queer girls—have grown used to Hollywood’s not-so-subtle implication that their lives are expendable.
However because of the neighborhood’s vocal complaints about “Useless Lesbian Syndrome” over the previous few a long time, creators are lastly beginning to turn out to be conscious of this overused trope, and are taking steps to actively keep away from it. Some are even writing complete motion pictures to counteract it. That’s precisely what author Alyson Richards intends to do with The Retreat, a brand new lesbian slasher horror movie directed by Pat Mills that opened in theaters and on-demand at this time.
The Retreat is your fundamental cabin-in-the-woods horror joint, with one little twist: Carol, they’re lesbians. Girlfriends Renee (Tommie-Amber Piri) and Valerie (Sarah Allen) are headed to a distant weekend getaway to assist their queer man mates plan a marriage. However once they arrive on the cabin, their mates are nowhere to be discovered. It’s not lengthy earlier than our heroes discover themselves kidnapped and tortured by a mysterious, sadistic determine clad from head-to-toe in camouflage. Because it seems, the locals within the space are vicious homophobic monsters hellbent on murdering queer individuals in probably the most disturbing methods attainable. Enjoyable!
Maybe it’s a spoiler to say that each of the queer girls in The Retreat in the end dwell. However for Richards, the pleased ending isn’t only a plot level—it’s the thematic drive of the movie. In her writers assertion despatched to the press, Richards wrote, “Queer our bodies have a protracted historical past of being disposable in media. The ‘bury your gays’ trope is actual. In so many motion pictures and exhibits, the queer feminine characters are sometimes killed or worse, revealed to be the ‘psychotic killer’ after which killed.”
She concluded, “I actually wished to put in writing a script the place the queer girls didn’t activate one another however as an alternative turned to one another to outlive. It was vital to me that the homosexual girls in The Retreat work collectively to show the tables on the villains and dwell.”
And that’s precisely what occurs. There are many moments the place it appears, even only for a second, that Renee may abandon Valerie—when Valerie will get caught in a bear lure; when Renee breaks out of her jail; when Valerie can’t discover something sharp to free Renee from her make-shift handcuffs. However she by no means does, and every time Valerie turns again to assist her lover, your coronary heart soars. By the point the tip of the film rolls round, the 2 girls—bloodied and haggard—actually lean on one another to slowly limp to freedom. If that’s not an inspiring message of girls supporting girls, I don’t know what’s.
It ought to be famous that the homosexual males within the movie, sadly, don’t obtain the identical generosity. Although not proven in graphic element, the circumstances and audio of the loss of life of Valerie’s buddy Connor (Chad Connell)—a completely horrific hate crime that’s broadcast dwell on the web—is excruciating to witness. Exploiting ache is the modus operandi of the horror style, to make certain, nevertheless it does veer into “trauma porn” territory of the very actual historical past of violence in opposition to homosexual males. So should you’re seeking to keep away from the “Bury Your Gays” trope totally, The Retreat might not be the movie for you.
However should you’re seeking to watch some lesbians win the day over some villainous homophobes, go forward and provides The Retreat a stream. For as soon as, the lesbians dwell.