Skip to main content

Movie Review | Honeymoon (2014)




Love, madness and a mystery consume a newlywed couple who’ve embarked on their honeymoon at a lakeside cabin in the woods. What begins as a picturesque excursion for Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) soon descends into a nightmare when the new bride disappears in the middle of the night. After a tense search, she is discovered in the woods by her groom; nude, bruised and incoherent. He is immediately alarmed and when he questions her over what has happened she rebuffs his curiosity, initially blaming it on an episode of sleepwalking. It’s an explanation that seems adequate until her behavior becomes increasingly erratic and despondent. Her physical condition rapidly deteriorates and the question of what ails her, casts a dark specter over their celebratory trip and the future of their marriage.

Bea and Paul have an idyllic relationship: playful, caring and lighthearted. First-time director Leigh Janiak spends most of the film’s opening getting viewers to invest in their relationship and it’s time well spent. While, so many horror films get lost in the bloodletting and slasher intrigue, they often skip over this key ingredient. Forgetting to flesh out the characters at the center of the action and losing the humanity in its story as a result. “Honeymoon” admirably delves into these two likable beings, making it easy to root for them amidst their ensuing downward spiral.

Early on, anvils drop as to what’s happened and in some regards, they are almost too heavy handed. When it gets into its second half “Honeymoon” starts to hit the wall, with very little in the way of plot progress and a spatter of repetitive dialogue that is grating in its echoing ambivalence. It is in this realm that it relies heavily on genre clichés, as characters hemorrhage IQ points as readily as they do blood. The fairly intelligent people from the beginning steadily devolve into utter dullards. Bea’s denials grow increasingly exasperating and though Paul expresses his irritation, he fails to do anything proactive about it. As ridiculous decisions abound, the plot runs around in circles, as pointless bouts of arguing lead to no resolutions. Any rational person would behave much differently than what’s portrayed and chalking it up to fear doesn’t hold water.

As the film spins its wheels in the second half, it feels as if it’s just running down the clock as opposed to working towards a revelatory experience. When the culprit behind Bea’s condition is finally revealed, it is rather obvious and disappointingly generic. "Honeymoon" makes up for this with its atmospherically laden approach, which gives it an air of originality and unmistakable mystique. The underpinnings of horror clichés are dressed up enough to divert attention from the movie’s more formulaic aspects. There seems to be an attempt made by the film to serve as an allegory of sorts, though it’s unclear what it’s hoping to signify.

Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway both give admirable performances that ground the movie in a believability that is vital, especially when the hysterics of the final chapter take hold. To its credit the film exits with a sense of closure, sidestepping the vagueness that has dominated similar indie features. The particular emotion felt by this viewer in its wake proved to be a testament to the affability of its characters and the turns of its leads, as it's a rarely produced sensation from the genre. As a thriller it is compelling, as a love story its romantic and as a horror flick it leaves the audience with some things that are hard to shake despite desiring to. Rating: 6.5/10



Popular posts from this blog

Richard Armitage interview on SLEEPWALKER

SLEEPWALKER is the latest film from director Elliott Lester. Troubled by bouts of sleepwalking and disturbing nightmares, graduate student Sarah Foster goes to her university's sleep research center for help. When she wakes up after her first night of being monitored, the world she lives in seems to have changed in subtle, Twilight-Zone-esque ways. In fact, every time she goes to sleep now, she wakes up in a slightly different version of her world. With the help of sleep researcher Dr. Scott White, she tries to work her way back to the reality she started in. But when they finally succeed, it’s revealed that Sarah’s world is not what she thought at all.

Today my guest is one of the stars SLEEPWALKER, Richard Armitage. Tonight we talk about his work on that film as well as his work as Thorin Oakenshiled in The Hobbit Films, as John Proctor in The Crucible, and his upcoming films Ocens 8 and the Julie Delpy directed film My Zoe.

Sleepwalker is Now Available on Digital HD and On Dem…

Internet Trolls and Critics in the Age of Rotten Tomatoes - A Look at the Critical Response to GOTTI

Hate, intolerance, and cruelty are the most valued currencies in the digital age. Online publications deal in the same eye-catching tabloid headlines that were once exclusive to rags like WEEKLY WORLD NEWS and the NATIONAL ENQUIRER. The monetization of clicks is ruining many forms of journalism and film criticism is just one of them. When organizations can see what headlines are generating revenue its only natural that sensationalism would start to rise. There is no consorted hivemind like conspiracy to destroy certain films but rather internet activity that has boosted a certain type of writer. From the outside, online film critics share quite a bit with their Twitter troll counterparts.

The critical response to John Travolta's passion project Gotti has been less than favorable, in fact, it has been downright abysmal. A project over ten years in the making, Travolta has poured his heart and soul into this venture. And many writers seem to take pleasure in the film's failure.

I…

NO ALTERNATIVE review

Depression is often marked by sadness, despair, and hopelessness. The sense that things will not get better is something most of us pass through at different points in our lives. But depression is something more than that. It’s not just a temporary feeling, it’s a debilitating emotional state that you can’t simply pull yourself out of. The angry outbursts, irritability, and frustration that come along with depression can isolate individuals suffering from this condition and push them deeper into their own thoughts. Everyone needs to be heard and sometimes those who can’t express themselves in traditional forms find their voice in art.
Edvard Munch wrestled with agoraphobia and frequently had hallucinations, one of which inspired THE SCREAM, a painting so iconic that even the most casual art enthusiast is familiar with the piece.  Sylvia Plath took a more direct approach with THE BELL JAR and laid out the details of her depression with brutal honesty. Briana Dickerson a white suburba…