Bluray Review: HONEYMOON And Why It’s An Important Genre Film

honeymoon-blu-ray-cover-86While we post a hefty amount of DVD and Bluray reviews here on good ol’ Icons of Fright, every once in a while, there are films that arrive that warrant a bit more than just your typical “this is why you need to/don’t need to buy this” review. The power of the horror genre is often overlooked, and well, rightfully so. There are definitely more bad genre films released each year than good ones, and it’s easy to sometimes focus on that a little more than the ones that absolute knock you for a loop. A film that was not only just entertaining to me (see my top ten of 2014 for a little more about it), but almost autobiographical to a certain extent is finally arriving on DVD/Bluray from Magnet Releasing and fright fanatics, let me tell ya, it’s an emotional and upsetting beast of a film, one that deserves a little more attention than just a review. So please, bare with me as I tell you a little (or a lot) about why Leigh Janiak’s HONEYMOON is not only worth BUYING (to hell with renting, buy it), but is also a very important film.

*Note– 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 specifics. 


To begin this review/examination, I’ve got an assignment for you readers. It’s somewhat of an odd request, and something that typically doesn’t happen in reviews or articles, but this film is a special one to me, and I think establishing a mood for this might help you who are reading this feel what the tone and the mood of the film is, even if it’s by a song that is no way affiliated with the film. If you have a little over one minute of your time to listen to the sound of a song, listen to this before we get started:

Now that we have our melancholic tone down, let’s have at it. HONEYMOON as just a genre film works on the levels most films strive to work on. It gives you two characters, the newlywed couple of Paul and Bea (Penny Dreadful‘s Harry Treadaway and Game of Thrones‘ Rose Leslie), as they head off to their honeymoon vacation in the woods, staying in a remote cabin that Bea used to go to as a child. Their plans of a wonderfully romantic getaway feels fresh and new to even us, the viewers. Right from the film’s opening video of the young couple talking about their relationship, we believe in the couple, we want them to make it, even having just met the characters. Their love seems genuine, and in the back of our heads (It IS a horror film), we know that something will indeed happen to the couple, so we already begin to feel a sense of dread in our stomachs. The cabin is away from the city, in the middle of a scenic and beautiful area, one that welcomes you in, giving a landscape of beauty and adding an even more calming feeling, which makes you feel even worse, again, as we know something is in store. The young couple do what most young couples do: get to know each other, with Bea talking about her experiences with the lake and area.

Going on a walk to a nearby diner-like eatery, the young couple finds it vacant, until a distraught and angry man appears. His quiet and oddly awkward wife also appears, and the man is somewhat physical with her, giving Paul and Bea an odd feeling. When the man recognizes Bea, his demeanor changes, and it’s revealed that they were close in the past, giving Paul, as Bea’s husband, a weird feeling. We begin as viewers to sense a feeling of jealousy in Paul, it’s clear that he loves Bea, but the idea of someone else being in Bea’s life prior to him, makes him feel like he’s in a weird space. And this is all before the real danger arrives. Janiak as a director, has already made us feel pushed out of our comfort zones, seeing even the smallest of flaws in Paul and in his relationship with his wife.

One night, Paul wakes up, unaware of where Bea is, and like anybody would in that situation, he sets off to look for her. When he finds her, she’s disoriented as all hell and confused. Though he doesn’t say anything, we know that Paul thinks for even just a second, that the man at the diner has something to do with it. We know this without even a word being said, we see the cracks appear.

Over the course of the next few days, Bea begins acting much differently that what both Paul and us as viewers know her to act like. She begins to act like a much different person, forgetting things that the young couple had spoken of, doing things much differently than she had been doing prior to Paul finding her in the woods, in the unknown. We ask ourselves “is Bea being taken over by something?”, “Is she not who she said she was” and a million other questions that we ask ourselves, trying to solve the puzzle.

As Bea changes and changes, Paul fights as hard as he can both internally and externally to not only hold onto the woman he fell in love with and married, but to  also understand why this change is happening. Again, as just an on the surface horror film, HONEYMOON works very well, with its INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS-like premise being completely entertaining. What makes it an important film though, is every little nuance and underlying statements about how easy and completely heartbreaking it can be, to realize that the person you fell in love with is simply not that person anymore, that they’re someone entirely different and there isn’t a single thing you can do. HONEYMOON isn’t your typical genre film, it’s one that plays in the horror playground, but does so, all while telling you that unfortunately, things will not always work out and that those we love the most can sometimes in life be exactly what kills us emotionally. We’ve all been Paul at one point of our lives, and if you haven’t, count yourself lucky, because it happens more than it doesn’t.

While that all seems like a hefty bunch of gloom and doom, it’s instead a very real and true testament to the power of the horror genre, the genre that makes you stop and think about what makes us uncomfortable and scares us, and sometimes losing your identity and that of the person you once thought would be the white picket fence fairytale mate is very common and utterly heartbreaking. 2014 was a year for smart and metaphorical horror, with HONEYMOON, THE BABADOOK and various others using certain genre elements such as body snatching or monsters as metaphors for a doomed marriage or single parenting among other very hard topics to address successfully. Films like these are important not only to the genre, but in general. Films that make us think and have the power to even evaluate our own lives and relationships with people are films that should be cherished and make excellent additions to collections. They’re films that might be hard to watch regularly, but ones that will be there when you turn over one morning and don’t recognize the person laying next to you.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

•’Making of’-like interview with Treadaway, Leslie and Director Leigh Janiak. All three talk about the film and its meaning to them. Short, but sweet EPK’s

• A look at some of the Special Effects in the film, the highlight being a worm-like creature featured in an intense scene in the film.

• AXS TV: A Look At Honeymoon

• Trailer

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