In an effort to build a space for queer people like me, each Sunday I’ll be posting interviews, op-eds, lists, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally the Latinx community since I’m Latinx). welcome to queerly non-straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have any suggestions on what I should cover next.
they they didn’t know what he wanted to be as he introduced us to a hero that was safe and acceptable to the non-LGBTQ audience that would consume him, forgetting that East it’s a movie for the LGBTQ community. Not only that, everyone else was dressing up as the “hero” while barely scratching the surface of what it means to be LGBTQ+ and stuck in a conversion camp. Also, they spent too much time subtly and provocatively torturing the campers instead of being the slasher they promised to be.
Finally, they they it was a disappointment that shows we have a long way to go when it comes to telling our stories in a nuanced and refreshing way that defies expectations and brings something new to the table.
Choosing the safe white gay
Look, for a movie that preached right and left about how diverse and innovative it was… it was pretty white. Yes, they had an Asian character and two black characters as part of the story. They got lines, at least. Many characters were unable to use their voice at all and were just window dressing for the white lead characters. And when I look at Veronica (Monique Kim), Alexandra (Quei Tann), and Toby (Austin Crute), they were dressing up as Jordan (Theo Germaine), aka the Wonder Bread of the group, who was so painfully bland that he just wanted Veronica , Alexandra and Toby to take over and get this ball rolling.
Honestly, I felt that Jordan was the non-threatening gay that they they he could get away with being the lead in an LGBTQ+ movie. And it just doesn’t work. Instead of they they using their cast to the best of their ability, they spend their time rooting for Jordan when Jordan has no substance other than knowing the words to a Pink song, knowing how to shoot, and also being the gay defiant of the bunch. Not just not. For this movie to have worked, they should have explored more than just the white narrative that we’ve repeatedly watched ad nauseam.
And sure, they they receives praise for putting a transgender and non-binary character at the forefront of a gender that consistently ignores the LGBTQ+ community. We are really tired of being left behind or being the first to be killed by the bad guy. But you know what else we’re tired of? Our stories are told through such narrow and bland lenses that we don’t get content that speaks to us and our diverse experiences. Instead, we get special lessons after school so we don’t let others define us. And it’s just not cutting it or landing it like they think it is.
What could have made this movie better?
they they I could have thrown the whole book out the window. They could have gotten the group to band together to take down the killer, proving that it’s not just Jordan who is the hunter. All are. And they’ve always had that ferocity in them to make the changes they want to see in their lives and face the challenges that come their way as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Now this would have rounded they they better and made it so that others besides the conventionally attractive and acceptable-looking queer people feel seen in the content they consume.
This movie might as well have done without making the only black woman with lines the one with all the sage advice and sassy lines to help the Wonder Bread of the group and protect the children as Wonder Bread is at the center of the movie’s climax. There was so much potential for Alexandra, as a black transgender woman, to be something more. And I can’t help but feel like she’s the equivalent of what straight movies do with the male hero having second thoughts about life and adventure only to have the woman hanging on his arm who does nothing to give him advice and straighten him out. . and narrow before disappearing for reasons.
Oh, and another thing… why didn’t the fat girl have any speaking lines besides singing along with Pink? Only slim and fit people had the lines, the focus, the story and everything. they they got a chance to do something different where fat people aren’t relegated to the background like we don’t matter because audiences “just want to see fit people who put themselves in harm’s way but survive.” No. I want fat people to fight, thrive, survive and be the leaders of their own destinies. But that won’t happen any time soon because Hollywood doesn’t realize that fat people watch these movies too. Shame with a healthy dose of sideways gaze.
Are we going to talk about perverted adults?
There is no denying that Kevin Bacon killed him in they they. He sold Owen Whistler and made you tentatively take him on because of how open and honest he was in the first few minutes. Then they started to show their true colors, along with the rest of them, and you started to realize that they are the real monsters in this movie. Seriously, the lure into a false sense of security before calling them “tortilleras” and forcing them to shoot innocent dogs was something I didn’t see coming. And it’s something I wish they had spent less time on because, after all, it’s a slasher and it needed more kills.
As if that wasn’t sick and twisted enough, they they he had the camp counselors call the campers “kids” as they wished them. They were supposed to be the “adults”, but one of them was a plant that lured a young man into having unprotected sex with them before revealing it was a ruse and then torturing them in an unnecessary and provocative way. Ah, but it gets worse. Two of the camp counselors find photos on the “kids'” phones and think about those photos while having sex. It’s just… that’s upsetting, disgusting and (again) shows that they are the true monsters of the story.
For all these reasons, I was glad to see each of the camp counselors die in they they. In fact, the deaths should have been more elaborate and scattered throughout the film, rather than having to wait an hour and 20 minutes for these people to figure out what’s theirs. Because they deserved it. From the beginning. After all, it is a horror movie. What good is it if you don’t see a little cuts and mutilations? And if they prove a point, that conversion camps are horrible and should be destroyed, then we’re killing two birds with one stone.
Poor me, they they it was a flop of a slasher that underutilized its cast of characters while focusing on the Wonder Bread hero for sure.
queerly non-straight Posts every Sunday with opinion pieces, lists, reviews and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally on the Latinx community since I am Latinx).