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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

B&B ***

Starring: Tom Bateman, Sean Teale, Paul McGann, Callum Woodhouse, James Tratas

Director: Joe Ahearne

Remember that time a gay couple sued the owners of a B&B for not allowing them to have a double room? Well rather than making a film about that, director Ahearne has created a “what if” scenario around it, in which the affronted couple return to the B&B, where all hell breaks loose in a horror/thriller retribution piece, picking up from where the newspaper stories left off.

Marc (Bateman) and Fred (Teale) have won their court case against Josh (McGann), the B&B proprietor who had prevented them from sharing a bed together. Fresh from the triumph, Marc is intent that the couple return to the house to claim their right to a double room, but when they arrive for a weekend they find that all rooms are now twin rooms. “If no rooms are double rooms,” says Josh, “Then we can’t discriminate.” With tensions already high, they encounter Josh’s son Paul (Woodhouse), who tells them he’s gay and intends to come out to his father that weekend. Additionally, a Russian guest (Tratas) is also staying at the hotel, whose intentions there are unclear. With the five of them all staying in the same building, the house won’t remain peaceful for long.

At times, this film is a sturdy thriller, with ample tension built up over protracted scenes in which nobody is certain of anyone else’s intentions. Like many great thrillers, there is no character 100% in the right or wrong, so as the plot unravels and double-cross follows double-cross, it begins to trip itself up in a plot that might be too complicated for its own good. After a while it becomes unclear where the threat is coming from, or even, at times, if there is any at all.

Night vision goggles are used extensively in the film’s action sequences, but where this trick succeeds in other films through being used sparingly, their over-use here deadens their impact. Unlike The Silence Of The Lambs’ gloriously tense similar sequence, the effect is used to confuse the viewer, instead of revealing things to the audience that they might not otherwise see. Add to that their use in one of the most unscary woodland areas possible (how hard can it be to make trees in the dark look forboding?) and what should have been the most exciting moments in the film falls somewhat flat.

However, what the film does manage with aplomb is making a horror film about sexuality that doesn’t fall into the trap of turning homosexuality into the “monster”. Marc and Fred’s marriage might be tested psychologically, but in a film in which promiscuity abounds, they don’t ever stray from their marriage vows. Similarly, though Josh is a homophobe, it neither tries to justify or exaggerate the way that he feels and behaves. The threat felt throughout the film does stem from his homophobia, but it is not the threat itself. As a result, it’s a LGBT horror film that actually depicts gay people and their issues well, which is pretty rare.

B&B is definitely an enjoyable film and sits well within the horror genre. A better script and some thought for the cinematography would have made this a better movie, but when you want a pulse-racer at Halloween, this certainly does the job.

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