VOD Review - Queen of Carthage

The opening shot is a woman washing blood off her hands on the side of a boat in the ocean water. This sets the table for what presumably will be a thriller, but whatever dread or anxiety that opening-shot conveys, it's completely lost in the 80 minutes or more of a hackneyed narrative reinforcing ugly tropes and stereotypes about LGBT people, horror cliches promoting gay panic. The final minutes of this movie underscore and make clear that we should fear the gay and possibly hate the gay. Therefore, this movie is on its face literally homophobic.

Shiloh Fernandez co-wrote and stars as Amos, a drifter from the United States who arrives in New Zealand. Amos keeps calling or talking to a woman by phone but she's never identified. It's hinted that she might be his sister but it's never clear. Whatever the relationship, it's bitterly contentious and possibly romantic. If so, it would be quasi-incestuous.

One night, Amos meets a singer and guitar-player named Graham, played by Graham Candy. He almost immediately falls in love with Graham. His reasoning or justification for falling for Graham is never fully explained. It seems really random. It's obvious that Graham has a girlfriend but that doesn't stop Amos from trying to get close to Graham and have him all alone.

Keisha Castle-Hughes co-stars as Simi, the girlfriend of Graham who is weary of Amos but accepts him on face value. Unfortunately, actions by the end make no sense. Even after Amos' lies are exposed, Simi doesn't become more weary. Her character gives into plot contrivance and it makes her seem dumb.

There's also a really reductive moment when Graham confronts Simi after Amos has kissed both of them. After Amos kissed Graham, Graham doesn't believe that Amos could also have kissed Simi. Graham refuses to believe it in fact. It never crosses Graham's mind that Amos could be bisexual, which is very reductive thinking. It's binary-thinking that disavows reality.

Even if we are to accept that Amos is 100-percent gay, then what are we to make of the very end? The groundwork isn't laid for the violent actions that ensue. All of a sudden, we're supposed to be scared of Amos when he's really built up to be stupidly pathetic. A gay guy pursuing a straight guy beyond reason is a stupidly pathetic thing. Having it amount and climax on murder is quite frankly awful. It's also a cliche and an aforementioned, ugly trope and stereotype.

One Star out of Five.
Rated R for language, some bloody violence, sexual content/nudity and brief drug use.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 31 mins.
Available on Netflix Watch Instant since March 1.


  1. He kills Graham because of the red head, that might have told him to do so cause she got jealous. That's also why he killed her at the end cause he realizes she totally controls him. Its not homophobic whatsoever


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