“A Transgender & Queer Film By Alice Maio Mackay” is really the only thing we needed to read for us to dive headfirst into the latest from the So Vam director with barely a plot revealed. T-Blockers is a delightful Queer empowering film that simultaneously denounces and stands up to bigotry with some powerful statements throughout on the current state of the world voiced by some richly crafted characters from Mackay and Benjamin Pahl Johnson (Give writers all the monies!!!!)
Bringing those characters to life on screen are Lauren Last as filmmaker/movie theater employee Sophie and Lewi Dawson as best friend/kind of an everyperson on set Spencer who present the emotional crux of the film through their friendship and on screen chemistry as they continually build each other up and are mutually supportive just like your closest friend should. Well, they’re going to need that support because some unknown parasite has come to their small town, is possessing the douchiest of douche bros, and disappearing the already under fire Queer community.
With Sophie recently having come out as female-presenting transgender to her family and being subsequently shunned by her mother for it, she’s not about to let anyone take what community she’s built in the aftermath from her so she’ll rally alongside Spencer, badass Polyester Bar owner Storm (Lisa Fanto), and potential new love interest Chris (Toshiro Glenn) in some sick costumes/uniforms (Sophie’s is of the Pussy Riot variety following a sick “gearing up” montage) to form a vigilante group to take down this menace once and for all!
There’s, of course, more to it with Sophie having some sort of a connection to the invading creatures and being able to sense when they’re nearby. Then there’s the film within a film, Terror From Below from fictional Betty Palmer, hosted a la Fright Night via Ed Wood by Etcetera Etcetera as the Vampira meets Elvira host as part of some ’90’s show that Sophie and Spencer are obsessed with which is oddly prophetic to current happenings to the extent that, upon a rewatch when shit gets real, Spencer deadpans: “I never thought I’d be thankful for so much exposition in a movie”. There’s also the relationship with the rest of Sophie’s family that’s explored more as brother London (Joe Romeo), a musician and recovering addict (With a great monologue about said addiction during an unexpected visit that ties into the main antagonist perfectly), and cop Dad (Brendan Cooney) play significant roles in Sophie’s evolution throughout.
Trading the glitz and glamour of the big city location in So Vam (Most recent Mackay release, Bad Girl Boogey which will see a wide American release THIS SUMMER, is currently on our watch list hence the frequent So Vam references. Sorry?) for a dreary small town and all the politics that come with it, Mackay still manages to bring a neon flair to T-Blockers which we think is like a calling card almost. And we’re here for it! Then there’s the score by Alexander Taylor (Along with some choice songs from Delilah Bon among others) which begins all synth-heavy and ethereal like a, believe it or not, ’80’s RomCom before morphing into an Indie Rawk ruckus akin to a Jim Jarmusch film (Usually scored by Jarmusch/Squrl) with The Dead Don’t Die in particular coming to mind. Oh, and note to other filmmakers out there: highlighting pronouns as the main credits sequence rolls is never a bad thing!
T-Blockers screened at Salem Horror Fest at the end of April and is still doing the rounds on the rest of the festival circuit. For the latest, including info on where you can see the film, head here or here.