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‘B & B’ (review)

Produced by Jayne Chard
Co-produced by Isabelle Georgeaux
Executive Produced by Jon Finn,
Richard Holmes, Hannah Thomas,
Ricky Margolis, Simon Graham-Clare
Written and Directed by Joe Ahearne
Starring Tom Bateman, Paul McGann,
Sean Teale, Callum Woodhouse, James Tratas

 

A newly married gay couple arrive at a remote bed and breakfast to spend the weekend. Their choice of locale is curious, as they successfully sued said Bed & Breakfast for having been refused a double bed the previous year because of their sexual orientation.

Marc is gung-ho about rubbing their victory in the owner’s face, while Fred is far less enthusiastic about revisiting the scene of the crime. He especially feels bad for the owner’s 16 year old son.

The owner, Josh (veteran character actor Paul McGann), while obviously irritated and rather incredulous by the reappearance of these sinners, initially handles the situation with surprising serenity and professionalism.

The already tense situation is amped up considerably by the arrival of another guest: a mysterious and forbidding young Russian who apparently only speaks his native tongue.

Is this young man here thanks to Josh wishing to torment the couple? Is he a “queer basher” who saw the couple’s post on Facebook, here of his own accord? Or is something else afoot?

It’s to writer/director Joe Ahearne’s great credit that B & B does not go into an obvious direction. I truly thought I knew what I was in for after reading the synopsis and I was wrong.

The twisty yet organic script kept me on my toes, as did Ahearne’s sinewy, stylish direction. The initial tension never lets up until the end credits; Ahearne chooses just the right camera angle and placement to wring the maximum suspense out of even the slightest moments, such as stealing a glance at the guestbook or a map.

The editing and score are tops as well; also, Nick Dance’s cinematography gives the film a welcome sheen. I watch a lot of low-budget thrillers and horror films and few look as good as this one.

Acting is also across-the-board excellent. McGann strikes the perfect note in a difficult role, and he’s matched by Tom Bateman and Sean Teale as the couple. Mention must also be made of the fine performance by Callum Woodhouse as Josh’s sixteen-year-old son.

I quite appreciated the effort to not paint anyone here as a complete monster. I certainly disagree with Josh’s refusing the bed to the young men, but Marc’s vindictive, arrogant behavior is off-putting as well.

The four leads are fleshed-out, realistic characters.

Fans of unpredictable thrillers should absolutely check out B & B, one of the more pleasant surprises of the year so far.

 

For screening information visit bnbfilm.co.uk

 

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