Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at the Netflix zombie flick “Army of the Dead,” the predictable “thriller” “Trigger Point” and the LGBTQ+ cabin-in-the-woods flick “The Retreat.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the over-the-top Netflix zombie flick “Army of the Dead,” the predictable “thriller” “Trigger Point” and the LGBTQ+ cabin-in-the-woods flick “The Retreat.”
Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Marcia MacMillan chat up the weekend’s big releases, the over-the-top Netflix zombie flick “Army of the Dead,” the predictable “thriller” “Trigger Point” and the LGBTQ+ cabin-in-the-woods flick “The Retreat.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the over-the-top Netflix zombie flick “Army of the Dead,” the predictable “thriller” “Trigger Point” and the LGBTQ+ cabin-in-the-woods flick “The Retreat.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about the blood soaked Netflix zombie flick “Army of the Dead,” the predictable “thriller” “Trigger Point” and the LGBTQ+ cabin-in-the-woods flick “The Retreat.”
“The Retreat,” now streaming on VOD, is a survivalist horror film that sees big city couple Renee (Tommie-Amber Pirie) and Valerie (Sarah Allen) out of their element and fighting for their lives in the remote countryside.
Renee and Valerie are at the, “If this isn’t going anywhere you have to let me know,” stage of their relationship. Valerie wants to go to the next level, Renee is elusive. Affectionate but noncommittal. “I’m trying to talk to someone who clearly has trouble with adult conversation and avoiding conflict,” Valerie says.”
A weekend away at a cabin with friends seems like the tonic their relationship needs, but doesn’t turn out as planned. They arrive to find the place deserted with no sign of friends Connor (Chad Connell) and Scott (Munroe Chambers). Alone in unfamiliar surroundings, the couple stumble across some unsettling signs. They hear sounds in the woods and a deer’s head strung between two trees unnerves Valerie but Renee, who used to hunt with her family, is less freaked out. “We were there to reduce the population by selective slaughter,” she says, foreshadowing an inner strength that will soon come in handy.
As darkness falls, they are convinced someone is watching from the woods and soon they’re in a battle for their lives against militant extremists determined to kill them simply because they are “different.” “Time to cull,” says killer Gavin before the axes start swinging.
Played out over a tight 82 minutes, “The Retreat” doesn’t waste time in setting up its characters and situation. Building atmosphere and a sense of tension through the remote setting and strain between Valerie and Renee, director Pat Mills gets down to business quickly, amping up the eeriness with jump scares and an eerie soundtrack.
These scenes are effective enough, although once the darkness hits, physically and metaphysically, the film itself goes dark with low light photography that sometimes makes it hard to see what’s happening.
So far, it’s a typical cabin-in-the-woods set-up but with one major difference.
What sets “The Retreat” apart from other rural survivalist films is its subtext. Horror is not often kind to LGBTQ+ characters, treating them as villains or killing them off soon after the opening credits have roiled. Here they are front and center. Hunted by a group of heavily armed losers simply because of who they are, Renee and Valerie fight back.
“The Retreat” is a welcome twist on the survival genre from a queer director and female screenwriter that mixes anxiety, horror and empowerment.
The Husband begins with a premise we’ve all heard before, a romantic triangle. There’s a husband, a wife and a lover but, as director Bruce McDonald points out, “in this case the lover is fourteen years old and the wife is in jail.”
The movie is a dark dramedy about Henry, (Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, who also co-wrote the script), struggling to deal with the shame he feels when his wife is jailed for having an affair with a minor.
“The script really tries to understand what the male goes through in this crazy situation,” says McDonald. “It’s about regaining your mojo, about reclaiming your masculinity and power and it was written as a suspense story.
There was this ‘What’s this guy going to do’ thing all the way along. It was set up as a revenge movie. We meet our character and he is going through his day-to-day and one day, on the street, he sees the kid. The kid that did the deed. That sets off the movie, so it’s this cat and mouse game throughout the whole movie. I just loved the way it was constructed and the suspense of it. What is our character Henry going to do when he finally confronts the kid?
“He begins to do irrational things. First he’s trying to befriend this kid and get on his good side. To do what? And then other elements come into play where he is preparing something that you might think is a violent end to this confrontation. Henry is a mysterious and enigmatic character looking for some kind of closure on being the humiliated, cuckold husband.”
The edgy film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013. McDonald admits to being “very surprised at the reaction.”
“People were very taken with this movie,” he says. “They went in deep. I think they loved the oddness and the suspense of the story. They loved the situation and I think they loved how authentic and true it seemed to be in terms of the performances by Maxwell and Sarah Allen.
“Usually at the festival there’s two or three screenings. In this case the screening venues kept getting bigger and bigger which is always a bit frightening because the first screening is usually well attended and by the third you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen but our third screening was packed to the rafters.”