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Review: Joe Ahearne’s B&B

If you know anything about gays, then you know they love a good bed and breakfast. I say this in jest, of course, but there has been a lot of horror films dealing specifically with the trials and tribulations that gay couples experience while on vacation. This is, perhaps, to reel in an audience while keeping the production in one central location while maintaining a high level of beauty. B&B takes place in a historic looking bed and breakfast in England, and a venue with such prestige and class becomes the perfect spot for a showdown for equal rights. Despite a worldwide awakening and advances in laws and practices, you can still find someone living in the stone age no matter where you look. Whether it’s due to a radical, religious upbringing or just a shitty upbringing in general, homophobes still exist.

Married couple Fred (Sean Teale of “Incorporated”) and Marc (Tom Bateman of “Da Vinci’s Demons”) return to the bed and breakfast that hosted them a year prior. It’s not a happy retreat so much as it’s a slap in the face due to Fred and Marc suing the owner for refusing to give them a room with a single bed, which resulted in a minor media frenzy and a lot of bad blood. Things are clearly tense: why did they have to come back? But things are about to get a lot more interesting, and scary, when a hardened criminal, a Neo-Nazi, also rents a room at the bed and breakfast. Fred and Marc fear that the business owner they slighted the year prior has hired a murderer to get them in their sleep, but when the owner’s son goes missing with the brute – well, things get a little bit crazy! Paul McGann (Hornblower), Callum Woodhouse and James Tratas also star in this devilishly good feature from writer/director Joe Ahearne.

When I first started watching B&B, my first thought was, “couldn’t be me.” As a member of the LGBT community myself, I keep the majority of my personal life to myself – not because I’m ashamed or embarrassed, but because I’d hurt someone if they wanted to bring some hateful bullshit in to ruin my day. I could probably get over the event of being denied a single, wider bed to share with my special someone because domesticality doesn’t really speak to me anyway. What I wouldn’t be able to tolerate is all the snippy comments from the business owner, though I think he’s justified in this case since the married couple returning to the establishment they recently sued is obviously their way of looking for trouble. It doesn’t make me feel any empathy or sympathy for them, so when trouble starts and they appear to be in a battle of for their lives, I could only think, “eh, good.” But this is also the reason why B&B is frickin’ fantastic and a trailblazer for LGBT cinema. Here’s why.

B&B is an extremely accurate and honest portrayal of the double-sided coin that is living as an LGBT person in 2017. It examines the ying-and-yang pyramid of acceptance in a delicate way from all three sides – love, hatred and neutrality. It pokes fun at the stereotypes of masculinity that we force on each other – too feminine is unattractive, too masculine is a sign of wanting to be straight. It offers a stark depiction of how an ultra-religious father’s faith can be tested when a family member is secretly gay. More than anything, B&B isn’t your typical horror-comedy thriller-drama that’s filled with screaming drag queens and gag humor. The film and its creator, Joe Ahearne, are extremely intelligent with the portrayal of the gay couple because they aren’t valiant and true. They aren’t downtrodden men grasping to their morals and sanity after years of abuse. One of them is actually quite an asshole. Going back to my point of a double-sided coin, B&B is wildly different from other LGBT films because the characters are getting what they deserve after being vindictive and resentful – even in the face of bigotry. We need more gay films like this, where gay men are showcased as flawed, equal individuals and not just political chess pieces.

Now, being that this is a horror website, I need to say that B&B isn’t very scary, but I don’t think it was ever intended as an in your face horror film. It’s packed with mystery and suspense and there’s a little bit of gore splattered throughout. The supposed killer gives off an air of threatening determination and his native origin being from Russia gives a sad but realistic look into today’s world events; google Chechnya Gay Concentration Camps to see what I mean. The dialogue of, “He’s not cruising… He’s hunting,” should serve as a haunting reminder to any LGBT person that there are a lot of wolves in sheep clothing, which is perhaps the scariest aspect of B&B. Honestly, this feature film felt like a murder mystery without a murder mystery from the beginning. Horror takes a back seat to arguing, bickering, comedy, drama and a little bit of action, with the web of lies and deceit being more frightening than the violence. I was still into it, but I watched it more as a lover of all movies than a horror reviewer.

Again, not classifiable as a true horror film, but B&B is a raunchy, wild ride! I thoroughly enjoyed the bouncing banter between the two leads Sean Teale and Tom Bateman as they played good cop vs bad cop. The locations were luxurious in contrast to the night vision shots that were a clever way of masking outright nudity and sex. And I have to say that this was a flawless production, I couldn’t spot a single error. The entire cast and crew should be applauded for their efforts here and I hope that B&B reaches a wide audience because I truly believe it deserves to. As I said above, it’s a trailblazer for LGBT cinema, the first of its kind to champion flawed heroes in a world where everyone’s looking to play the victim even when their the victim of their own bad judgement calls. I loved this movie. Can’t wait to own it for my next date night movie night. Only marking it down because this is a scary movie website and this is as scary as Clue. Could this be the gay version of Clue? Let me stop talking. Final Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)