Review: B&B (2017) starring Paul McGann

Review by Ben Gummery

B&B is a new LGBT-themed thriller from writer/director Joe Ahearne (Doctor Who) in a Hummingbird Films production; funded by Creative EnglandFilm Cymru, and Pont Neuf Productions. The film is being distributed in the UK by Pecadillo Pictures.

‘Marc (Tom Bateman) and Fred (Sean Teale) return to bait the owner (Paul McGann) of a remote Christian B&B who they had successfully sued him for not allowing them to share a bed. Events take a deadly turn when another guest arrives, who they think might have something sinister in mind’

Perhaps sitting comfortably in the suspenseful thriller/horror genre this film at it’s heart is a dark comedy in the vein of Shallow Grave, In Bruges & Blood Simple; however this film has it’s own unique conceit which comes from a world which will seem very real to anyone who has read a newspaper in the last few years. The plot presents itself as being very straightforward to begin with but don’t let it fool you; there are several twists and turns that will leave you asking questions about right & wrong and viewing the film from different perspectives.

McGann plays homophobic B&B owner Josh who is on one level battling with the gay couple that have targeted him and on another level his own beliefs & fatherhood of son Paul (Callum Woodhouse); it’s a very subtle, understated performance from McGann as we see the character follow his own path through the story while never really faltering. It could be seen as a despicable character but it is left to the story and the audience to decide what he is rather than being exaggerated. McGann continues to show his excellent range (having recently played a Nazi general on-stage). This plays well against Bateman as Fred; who essentially plays ‘the other side of the coin’ as the more protagonist part of the couple and it is the tension between these two that provide some of the best moments in the film.   It’s a small, claustrophobic film with an excellent ensemble cast and almost perfect pacing which to me was very reminiscent of ‘Shallow Grave’. The cinematography is simplistic and deliberately bland and with a subtle scoring which allows the story and performances to be powerfully effective. It questions your beliefs and flirts with stereotypes and tropes without ever distracting from the core of the story.

4/5 – Highly recommended.

The film is released on on DVD and VOD in the UK on October 23rd (already available in USA).

To find out more about B&B, upcoming screenings, and its creators, please check the film’s official website

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