honeymoon_posterWe’ve all been there. Forming a relationship with an individual, and thinking that you know every single thing there is about that person, just to eventually see that you truly don’t. It’s an eye-opening part of life, to go through the realization that the person you once knew inside and out, every single detail of them, is no longer who you remember them as. While it’s most likely a metaphorical aspect that is planted in my brain and not a part of the film (it is to me), Leigh Janiak’s horror/thriller HONEYMOON is just that: a film with parallels to the heart-wrenching part of life in which the one you love becomes someone completely different, for reasons having nothing to do with yourself.

HONEYMOON‘s story of newlyweds Paul and Bea (Penny Dreadful‘s Harry Treadaway and Game of Thrones‘ Rose Leslie) spending their vacation directly following their wedding at Bea’s childhood family getaway home is one that doesn’t take long to establish itself and the characters you’re asked to go on a journey with. Beginning with a wedding video featuring both of them detailing how Paul proposed to Bea, it’s immediately apparent that they’re madly in love and are completely devoted to each other, the adoration part of their relationship in full bloom. The young couple have such a chemistry, that you feel happy for them as characters in love, so when one night Paul finds Bea naked in the woods and things begin to get darker, you’re instantly on the edge of your seat, wanting to see what happened and if it will affect the couple and how it will.

It’s hard to describe HONEYMOON without giving away at least some secrets that would be a disservice to the viewers’ experience to spoil, so let’s keep this going in one direction, what the film shows, in ways that are completely under the surface and highly metaphorical. When the film opens, the couple are inseparable, and can’t think of a single thing that is better than spending every moment completely in love and showing that love to each other. It’s such a strong love, that when the film’s event happens, and Bea begins to act like someone completely different than the person Paul married, it’s akin to the point in a marriage in which you look at the person and realize that they’re just a shell of the person you once knew, and the things that made you love the person so much initially, just might be gone for good.

HONEYMOON‘s horror/thriller elements go for more of a mystery of what happened to Bea in the forest and whether it’s something that can be fixed or if it’s something far more sinister going on. It’s the little things that are somewhat under the film’s surface that really give off that “is this who I knew?” vibe, as Bea begins to not only act like a completely different person, but also begins to not remember things that were so significant to her relationship to Paul, leading him to wonder if someone or someTHING has taken her over. Is it something sinister in the woods, or an INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS-like approach, or is she just possessed by something? The film does quite an excellent job making you question what is going on, and not giving away what’s going on upfront, making you wait through the suspense and mystery, as things begin to get more and more ominous and unsettling. The success of the film, is in how it gives you multiple things to digest, and lets you try to figure out what’s going on, all while being completely on board with the couple, so when Paul is feeling like he’s losing his mind over Bea’s changes, you’re right there with him, wondering what happened to the sweet girl he was crazy about in the beginning of the film.

It’s one hell of a mystery, one that refuses to pull its punches, giving horror/thriller¬†lovers a hell of a puzzle and providing what has got to be the best genre film of the year thus far. HONEYMOON sets forth the challenge of providing a horror film that makes you feel for its characters as much as it does, an excellent paced and performed film, one that packs such a punch all throughout the film, that when the juggernaut of an ending comes, you feel like you’ve just hard your heart ripped out and stepped on.

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  2. […] If you’d like to refrain from reading any spoilers, feel free to read THIS review of the film, as this review/article will be very spoiler-filled and full of […]

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