October is the perfect time to settle in with a good horror movie. When the spooky season rolls around, many new and classic horror films shoot up the streaming charts as people attempt to scare themselves silly. And right now, a Canadian horror film is dominating streaming charts.
According to Flixpatrol, the 2021 horror movie The Retreat is currently the 7th most popular film on Hulu. An impressive feat for a film that received little pre-release hype. The film follows Renee and Valerie, a lesbian couple who are at a crossroads in their relationship. While the pair love each other, their clashing personalities often lead to friction.
Thankfully, a weekend getaway in the Canadian countryside to plan a friend’s wedding gives them the chance to unwind and work on their issues. Alas, this plan quickly goes off the rails as the girls find themselves in danger as a group of militant extremists are keen to kill them both. This forces the girls to run for their lives and fight tooth and nail to survive as they try to stick together.
The Retreat was directed by Pat Mills and was written by Alyson Richards. Richards said that she aimed to subvert expectations with the film and purposely has Renee and Valerie avoid or twist final girl cliches found in many slasher movies, including the girls avoiding common traps and dangers. Tommie-Amber Pirie and Sarah Allen play the lead couple and deliver a stellar performance. They act like relatable badasses the entire runtime, often making this film feel like a female version of the later Evil Dead films.
However, the response to the film is decently mixed, with many critics giving low or mediocre scores. Many have pointed out that the film isn’t deep and feels generic at points, something only made worse by the decently short runtime. Due to this, the film has a 76% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences seemed to agree with many of the criticisms, and the film has a 59% audience score on the service, with many user reviews saying that the movie felt generic and overdone.
However, horror-focused outlets were much more kind to the film. Many praised it for being both a lesbian-led horror movie and a fascinating subversion of horror tropes. In fact, a few horror outlets said that they felt the film was slightly too subtle with its subversions and should have made a bigger deal of them, pushing the film to be closer to something like Cabin In The Woods.
The Retreat is a great slasher film. While it isn’t as groundbreaking as some would like, the core cast and the fast pace make for a really fun experience that’s perfect for a chilly Autumn evening. If you’re looking for a queer film to enjoy this Halloween season, then The Retreat should be on your watch list.