Sometimes reality is scarier than fiction.
Directed by Kristine Stolakis, the new trailer for Pray Away tells the story of the development of Exodus International. In the new footage, the trailer focuses on the damage left behind when one tries to erase another’s story. By using theology as a hammer, those involved at Exodus denied the gay community their identity and left a broken imprint in their lives.
Pray Away begins almost 50 years ago. According to the site’s description, “In the 1970s, five men struggling with being gay in their Evangelical church started a bible study to help each other leave the “homosexual lifestyle.” They quickly received over 25,000 letters from people asking for help and formalized as Exodus International, the largest and most controversial conversion therapy organization in the world.
But leaders struggled with a secret: their own “same-sex attractions” never went away.
After years as Christian superstars in the religious right, many of these men and women have come out as LGBTQ, disavowing the very movement they helped start. Focusing on the dramatic journeys of former conversion therapy leaders, current members, and a survivor, Pray Away chronicles the “ex-gay” movement’s rise to power, persistent influence, and the profound harm it causes.”
At first glance, the names Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum are the ones that may seem most surprising in their attachment to the film. Known primarily for their efforts in the horror genre, a documentary about conversion therapy doesn’t appear to fit in their wheelhouse (or Blumhouse, if you will) at first glance. However, one can certainly see these influences on display in the latest trailer. Though only a trailer, this is clearly a film that is going to delve into the terrifying and traumatic abuse of the LGBTQ+ population at the hands of the evangelical community. In this way, the film may be even scarier than American Horror Story or anything that the Blumhouse has to offer. After all, this story isn’t fiction. This is history.
Pray Away comes to Netflix on August 3rd, 2021.
To view the trailer for Pray Away, click here.