‘The legends are real… and they kill’
The Retreat is a 2020 American horror film about a man who finds himself alone and lost after a horrifying encounter with a monster.
Written and directed by Bruce Wemple (Dawn of the Beast; Monstrous; Lake Artifact; Altered Hours), the movie stars Grant Schumacher (Monstrous; Lake Artifact; Whelm), Dylan Grunn (The Whooper Returns; Monstrous; Lake Artifact), Chris Cimperman (Lake Artifact), Rick Montgomery Jr. (Legend of Gore Orphanage; Chill: The Killing Games; The Demon’s Odyssey) and Peter Stray (Monstrous; Viking Siege; Deadly Honeymoon; director of Canaries aka Alien Party Crashers).
In the Adirondack High Peaks of upstate New York, two best friends. Gus (Grant Schumacher) and Adam (Dylan Grunn) set out for a winter backpacking trip. After a horrifying encounter with a monster, Gus finds himself alone and lost.
“The Retreat explores male friendships, guilt and masculinity and does so with a competent and evenly paced story which may put some off viewers who wanted a chilly frightfest […] Unfortunately, despite an ambitious story with interesting themes, by the end, The Retreat may have taken on too much as by the end the tone changes…” BRWC
“There are places where Wemple has bitten off more than he can chew, places where the film is unhelpfully tangled or simply too slow. Overall, however, his boldness pays off. Particularly effective is the use of paintings, photographs and other artistic motifs associated with the wendigo – also forbidden in some traditions.” Eye for Film
“Wemple’s choice of a nonlinear approach and incorporating dream and hallucination sequences make for an intriguing if at times confusing, watch, but his commitment to the style pays off well. Viewers looking for a headier approach than usual to a creature feature should find plenty to chew on in The Retreat.” Gruesome magazine
“To be blunt, it feels quite lazy. Still, the story pulls you in and Gus’ journey is gripping enough to make you sympathize with a pretty unlikable character. The Retreat ends up getting more right than wrong with its intended effect. This is a must-see for fans of folklore, urban legends, and anyone craving what is essentially a feature-length CreepyPasta.” Killer Horror Critic
“Grant Schumacher in the leading role does give us the strongest performance as we see how he is caught up in the middle of learning the truth, showing the unease mindset his character is going through, we also get a nice creature creation, that slowly get more involved through the film, lurking in the shadows to start with.” Movie Reviews 101
“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.” Movies in Focus
“The twists aren’t super fresh and won’t change the game, but there are enough of them and they’re handled with enough grace by writer/director Bruce Wemple that they feel fun. These aren’t the desperate curveballs of a pseudo-Shyamalan, but the interesting u-turns of a semi-believable drug trip. While the monster scenes are hit or miss, the film’s slippery grip on reality can be fun…” Rue Morgue
“It’s much more of a psychological film than a monster movie. Which is not to say that we don’t see much of the Wendigo. There are several scenes with them and they’re very creepy looking at night and in shadows […] The Retreat is a very good movie. Though if you had a problem with the way Wemple used Bigfoot in Monstrous you may have the same problem here.” Voices from the Balcony
” …the 80-minute run-time actually hurts the overall tone and delivery of the content. I could actually see this as a 30-minute offering for a TV show like a Tales From the Crypt or Creepshow. Squashing The Retreat down into that type of format would make for a tense, unnerving and very creepy watch.” WWNY
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The Retreat was released on DVD and Digital on November 10th 2020 via Uncork’d Entertainment.
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