Bachelor parties (or stag parties, as they are known in the United Kingdom or in this case, Australia) are the supposed debaucherous sendoff as one male ventures off on the momentous journey of marriage and says goodbye to the single life for good (hopefully). It’s a self-contained amount of time where the groom’s closest friends will recall the early days and maybe lament about how things will never be the same again. There have been enough depictions of media that show you what is believed to be happening during a night or a weekend (a specific trilogy comes to mind). Could you imagine a groom inviting his soon-to-be bride to one of these? That would be a tad out of the ordinary, wouldn’t it? With Birdeater, co-directors Jack Clark and Jim Weir aren’t tied down to an adherence to tradition. Instead, this weekend in the woods serves as a pressure cooker for a toxic relationship ready to burst.

At first glance, Louie (Mackenzie Fearnley) and Irene (Shabana Azeez) seem to have a typical relationship, as days are chronicled at a particular cadence. Louie works, swims to exercise with Irene at his side, and ventures out for some alone time golfing. But in this mode of repetition, you’ll notice something is off. For starters, Louie tells Irene a different excuse to get away — that’s because Irene has extreme separation anxiety when Louie is not around. As their wedding day grows closer, it’s apparent that Louie cannot have the “boys” weekend without worrying about Irene, so he invites her to come. It seems like a recipe for disaster — I mean, bringing your wife to a gathering where all decorum is thrown out the window might not give one the greatest confidence to walk down the altar.

Clark and Weir, who also co-wrote the film, have something deeper for anybody looking to take the story at face value. Birdeater is not just about two people interlocked in the jaws of what bad romance could be but also about how toxic masculinity can cloak itself through the proverbial “nice guy” aesthetic. Louie’s friends Dylan (Ben Hunter), Charlie (Jack Bannister), Murph (Alfie Gledhill), and Sam (Harley Wilson) meet them in the beautiful, secluded compound. Just so Irene doesn’t feel left out, Charlie’s girlfriend, Grace (Clementine Anderson), comes along for the ride. As an extra element, a man Irene used to travel with named Sam (Harley Wilson) joins everybody as well, and this inclusion is a slow build of tension within Louie. He notices things, but it’s not entirely certain that they aren’t a figment of his imagination.

A perception switch occurs in Birdeater once you get to its primary setting, where you witness how uncomfortable it may be for someone like Irene. She doesn’t know anybody, and the men are slowly devolving into the most primal versions of themselves as the liquor and the drugs start flowing. Louie tries to resist, even as far as chastizing his friends for their actions. But eventually, everybody’s true colors come to the surface. Dylan, the most excitable and energetic person out of the bunch, is determined to make Louie regress into the rather “unkind” person he was before he met Irene. Or has he always been a terrible person at his core? That’s something that Clark and Weir don’t completely give you the answer to — scenarios like dinner table speeches and a campfire jam act like wobbly Jenga pieces ready to fall at the slightest wind. Birdeater is, at first, a clear-cut meditation of how secrets and repressed insecurities will always find a way to reveal themselves. Its second half unveils a foray into surrealism, maybe even considering how even when you think you know someone, there’s always something in the deep crevices of their psyche they haven’t revealed to you.

That’s scarier than any ghost, werewolf, or vampire. It’s seeing these revelations because they are no longer bound or inhibited by a specific circumstance. While this particular group of people all have something to hide from one another, the bigger mystery lies with Louie and Irene. It takes two to tango, and in this deceptive and often uncomfortable depiction of a relationship hamster wheel, you’ll be waiting for someone to stop the ride.