Review: Bruce Wemple’s THE RETREAT Subverts & Defies Horror Expectations

4 out of 5 stars

Director Bruce Wemple is carving-out a hugely impressive career in creating horror movies which subvert the genre and defy expectations. Following on from his brilliant ‘bigfoot’ pic, Monstrous comes The Retreat, a film which takes-on the Native American Wendigo myth and delivers a truly fascinating piece of genre cinema. It constantly blindsides its audience, taking turns left and right to deliver a film which leaves itself very open to interpretation. 

Grant Schumacher and Dylan Grunn are two best friends on a backpacking trip into the Adirondack High Peaks. Things get-off to a fun start but they take a dark turn when they may or may not encounter The Wendigo. Is it just their own paranoia, was it the strange herbal tea they ingested or maybe something mysterious really is lurking in the darkness. 

Those expecting a straight-up monster in the woods horror will be disappointed by The Retreat. Sure, that element is present and correct in Wemple’s film, but this is a hallucinogenic horror which spirals in many different directions. It challenges the viewer and takes them on a journey which is brilliantly executed and incredibly well acted by Grant Schumacher and Dylan Grunn. Schumacher impressed in Wemple’s Monstrous and he do so again in The Retreat, where he plays a very different type of character. 

The Retreat is another impressive film from Bruce Wemple. He’s a director who is playing in the horror sandbox but he continues to bring a lot of other toys with him to ensure that his films have a very unique style and tone. It’s worth going on a journey to The Retreat