With Rift and B&B, we have two very different gay suspense thrillers about two very different couples who fall into mysterious situations while on “vacation.”
This is not the usual “erotic” gay film, and no sex is shoehorned in just to give gay viewers a cheap thrill. Also, the film runs almost 2 hours long and is not a nonstop thrill ride. It actually reminds me more of combination of slow-burning 1970s thrillers like Don’t Look Now that wait until the last minute to throw the hard punch, and haunting, surreal films such as Let’s Scare Jessica to Death that keep you constantly in the state of confusion and disorientation that the protagonist in the film is experiencing.
On a concrete level, the film is about a man named Gunnar, who gets a mysterious, brief call from his ex, Einar, in the middle of the night at Christmastime. Einar simply mentions being at his parents’ vacation home and feeling like he’s not alone…that there’s someone there with him.
Gunnar is compelled to go check on him. The foreboding signs start immediately in a dark road scene reminiscent of In the Mouth of Madness.
But Gunnar forges ahead. When he arrives at the house, the focus of much of the film becomes on his past relationship with Einar, the oddly intimate relationship they still have, and the surprising amount of information they didn’t know about one another.
Meanwhile, the house is located in a very desolate area, so there are eerie instances of someone lurking outside and knocking on the door at night.
Plus the two experience creepy situations at an abandoned building that suggest someone might be hiding out there.
Also, Gunnar is drawn to a large rift in the ground nearby, and Einar recounts creepy tales of people going missing there and his own fears of the place when he was a child.
The focus on the couple’s relationship and what transpired between them unfolds gradually, and while all the conversation might just seem to be revealing the details of their past, it’s actually delivering clues to something darker and more complex.
It’s not until the final half hour that things become quite bone-chilling, also delivering twists that might surprise you, confound you, and leave you either convinced you know exactly what the conclusion means or frustrated that there really were no clear answers.
B&B is a dark gay thriller that takes on the “we shouldn’t have to serve your kind here” madness going on in nations that promise all “men” are created equal, yet put those just trying to create their own happiness at the mercy of those who use their religion of choice as a weapon to make others miserable while anointing their fragile egos as superior.
However, the film takes a position that paints the gays as a couple of vindictive assholes from the very start—or at least one of them—and manages to present a good argument for my personal feelings about this whole fiasco. Why the fuck would I ever want to give my business to someone who’d sooner see me dead?
“Good Lord, I wish they were dead.”
The story here begins a year after a gay couple sued the God-fearing owner of a B&B who refused to give them a room. They won the case and have now come to stay at his B&B. He is forced to give them a room by law. One of the gay guys doesn’t even want to stay there, but the other is relishing it, so you have no choice but to consider him a fricking douche.
Their interactions with the man who owns the place are quite intriguing in a passive-aggressive/cold war sort of way, and the man’s young son, who works as his assistant, complicates matters.
But the tension, suspense, and mystery come in when the only other guest—a hot Russian dude who doesn’t speak English—sends the couple mixed signals. As in, one guy thinks he’s gay and hot for them, while the other believes he’s the usual hateful Russian who would love to kill them.
“You have no idea how badly I want to fuck you…to death.”
It’s when the Russian takes an interest in the owner’s son for unknown reasons that the terror begins to mount and the unexpected twists hit.
The gay guys turn Hardy Boys, snooping around to figure out his intentions, which opens a Pandora’s box of mayhem. Soon, there’s no telling whom they can trust.
The first part of B&B builds a great mystery thriller scenario. Midway through it looses focus, becoming a bit convoluted in its attempt to keep the twists coming, but the end refocuses to give us one of those do or die suspense climaxes.