THE RETREAT is a survival horror movie with an LGBT twist in a surprising way. This one was so much better than I dared hope. The story is interesting (and far too realistic) with wonderful performances by all the actors. Read our full The Retreat movie review here!

THE RETREAT is an LGBT survival horror movie that has a tight story and a runtime of just 82 minutes. While I did expect this movie to be good (based on the trailer), I never expected it to be this brutal and good.

Basically, I can only say that this movie was much better than I had ever dared hope. Mostly, it creates a cool little universe with a badass survival plot. And, oh yeah, there will be blood, quite a few bodies, and interesting characters played by wonderful actors.

Continue reading our The Retreat movie review below.

A different kind of LGBT survival horror movie

If the whole “survival LGBT”-theme sound familiar, it may be because you’ve watched Colin Minihan’s What Keeps You Alive (2018). Also, if you haven’t then you really should. It’s a total guilty pleasure kind of survival horror movie with a brilliantly f*cked-up villain.

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As was the case with What Keeps You Alive, this movie avoids all the worst LGBT tropes. Mostly because the characters are more than just their sexuality. However, we do get actors who clearly have no problem kissing someone of the same sex.

Now, you might think this is always a given because two ladies kissing by default is just hot. However, as a gay woman, I can assure you that it’s obvious when the actors are doing “friendly” kissing rather than the steamy ones. Always such a letdown because it ruins the entire illusion of them actually being a couple.

Also, I want to mention that this survival horror movie doesn’t “just” have gay main characters for diversity points. The LGBT element of the story is key to the survival story since the villains are actively seeking out and hunting down gay people.

The Retreat [2021] – Horror Review

Several familiar faces

Since The Retreat is a Canadian production, we do get to see quite a few Canadian actors who you’ll probably recognize from other movies or TV series. For me, Aaron Ashmore is certainly a very familiar face. Most recently from the Netflix horror-fantasy series Locke & Key (read our season 1 review here).

Also in a small – but key – role, we see Munro Chambers, who I’ve pretty much adored in everything so far. You’ll recognize him if you’ve watched the 2015 cult movie Turbo KidOf the movies we’ve reviewed here on Heaven of Horror, Munro Chambers has been in Knuckleball (2018) and Harpoon (2019) and loved him in both. With The Retreat, he’s become a true favorite of mine!

I wasn’t actually that familiar with the two women in the lead roles even though they have quite impressive IMDb resumes. Tommie-Amber Pirie (Killjoys, Bitten) plays the tough and independent Renee with Sarah Allen (The Expanse, Being Human) playing the happy and understanding (to a point) Valerie. Both are awesome and kick-ass in their own way in this movie!

Watch The Retreat in theaters or On-Demand

Pat Mills is the director of The Retreat and it comes as absolutely no surprise that he has worked on several LGBT movies and series in the past. He knows how to tell these stories the right way. I mean, he even directed a wonderful gay Christmas movie on Lifetime this past holiday season. With this movie, it’s obvious that Pat Mills also has a great take on the horror genre!

The writer is Alyson Richards who has worked with Pat Mills before. In fact, they made a short film together back in 2001, so it’s a pretty solid filmmaker duo. She also produced his award-winning comedy Don’t Talk to Irene (2017). More importantly, in terms of the genre productions we cover, she also co-wrote the screenplay for the horror-mystery The Sublet from 2015.

I did actually have fairly high hopes for The Retreat, and yet, I can only say that this movie was even better than I had ever dared hope. The story is interesting (and far too realistic) with wonderful performances by all the actors. So, my point is simply that you need to check out The Retreat because this movie does everything right. Yes, including the survival horror story!

THE RETREAT is out in theaters, as well as on Digital HD and VOD, from May 21, 2021.


Director: Pat Mills
Writer: Alyson Richards
Stars: Sarah Allen, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Aaron Ashmore, Rossif Sutherland, Celina Sinden, Chad Connell, Munro Chambers, Patrick Garrow, Gavin Fox, Joey Coleman


Renee (Tommie-Amber Pirie) and Valerie (Sarah Allen), a couple at a crossroad in their relationship, leave the city to spend the weekend at a remote cabin with friends but when they arrive, their friends are nowhere to be found. As they stumble through their relationship woes, they discover they are being hunted by a group of militant extremists who are determined to exterminate them.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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