Young newlyweds Paul and Bea travel to remote lake country for their honeymoon. Shortly after arriving, Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of the night. As she becomes more distant and her behavior increasingly peculiar, Paul begins to suspect something more sinister than sleepwalking took place in the woods.
Rose Leslie : Bea
Harry Treadaway : Paul
Ben Huber : Will
Hanna Brown : Annie
Director : Leigh Janiak
“You taste the same. But you’re different. You’re different.”
Those who are about to tie the knot and subsequently also have a honeymoon planned, I advice to ignore this movie. And if the booked honeymoon destination is some remote forest I would certainly forget about it, because that was the destination of Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway). “Honeymoon” isn’t just a travelogue of the two lovebirds their journey, but a subtle horror-SF story which doesn’t focus on the use of masterful SE’s or gore, bloody fragments. It’s the brief use of resources (probably because of the micro-budget) that creates an oppressive, gloomy atmosphere. It’s about the realization that your life partner seems no longer to be the same one as before.
Don’t let yourself be frightened by the beginning. It looks as if it’s once again a footage movie, after witnessing the two newlyweds standing in front of the camera giving a brief explanation about their wedding. So no need to have an anxiety attack immediately and start pounding the “Off” button. Bea and Paul travel to a wooden cabin after their wedding, somewhere in a forest in Canada. An idyllic picture of young luck and a spectacle of a camaraderie with childish teasing and obviously sexually provocative interaction between each other. A kind of intimate relationship such as fresh lovers know and it appears as if they just discovered each other. Two loved ones hopping through the forest, enjoying each others company and looking genuinely happy. This happiness is disrupted after visiting a local restaurant where they meet a somewhat aggressively labile owner, also an old childhood friend of Bea, and his rather sick-looking wife, who exhorts them to leave. That night Paul finds his wife in the woods : naked, confused, disoriented, absent and with strange bites on the inside of her legs. Bea minimizes the concerns of Paul and claims that she was sleepwalking and that everything is alright. But Paul realizes that something fundamentally changed. The romance is gone, Bea forgets how to do daily things like making coffee or baking a toast. She doesn’t seem to realize who she really is anymore and especially her frigid, dismissive attitude towards sex is striking.
Not everybody will be thrilled about this movie. At first glance it looks fairly simplistic and without content. For those who love this genre (I consider myself one of them) this film still is a pleasant surprise. In “Honeymoon” a feeling of unease is created by using subtle elements so you can see someones personality slowly changing. It’s not accomplished by using physical peculiarities immediately. Maybe “Honeymoon” is a metaphor for something that everyone experienced once in his life namely concluding that a person isn’t the one we used to know. It must be a real nightmare to discover that the person you were initially in love with and decided to share your life with, suddenly appears to be a very different person. Of course it basically resembles “Invasion of the Body Snatchers“. I thought there was only one flaw in this film. The mystery is prematurely revealed to you by displaying the mysterious light that shines through cracks very early. “Honeymoon” isn’t really scary and therefore it’s not really a horror to me. It’s not a cabin in the woods as in “Evil Dead” or “Mama” where a demonic force presents itself in this hut or forest and the involved characters are constantly surrounded by a threatening environment. The inability of Paul and the unknown power that controls Bea appeals more to the imagination than a possessed person whose head is spinning around.
What pleasantly surprised me, were the performances by Henry Treadaway and Rose “Game of Thrones” Leslie. They were perfectly chosen for these roles and they are a believable couple with visible youthfulness and dynamism. The interplay and interaction between them was so recognizable and natural. From the outset we are involved in this relationship and their acting made sure that we, as the situation progressed, are emotionally concerned about both individuals. Superb performances. Also the used images are off a technically high level and sometimes the varying positions resulted in visual delights. And the pace is of such a nature that you just crave for the continuation, so the truth will come out and the mystery unraveled. For those who expect a full explanation at the end of the movie, I can reveal that the mystery remains partially hidden. And for the others who enjoy watching thrilling fragments or gore scenes, I can also tell that this is not frequently present (besides during an erratic third part).
Maybe the whole film is a metaphor for some, who regard the institution of marriage as true hell. Ultimately, the marriage of Paul was a ride to hell, with unlikely consequences. Narratively it could possibly be worked out a little bit more. But finally I thought “Honeymoon” was still successful the way it was presented and in the end the film is still fairly creepy,gruesome and macabre. I don’t think Paul could have imagined it would be such a marriage. A film with a simple but sublime elaborated story, that will stick to your mind for a few days.