Director: Leigh Janiak
A newlywed couple (Rose Leslie and Harry Treadway) hit a cabin in the woods for their honeymoon. But â€śsomethingâ€ť ruins their sex and fishing party. That's all I'll say! Gotta keep it vague!
I had never heard of HONEYMOON before a press release hit my Inbox about it. Being that I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones, the casting of the lovely Rose Leslie (who plays Ygritte on the show) in a horror film had me intrigued. And Iâ€™m not gonna BS ya, the fact that I had a â€śout of nowhereâ€ť steamy dream about the lass the night before also inspired me to want to tap this one. I have no idea where that dream came from, but it came. So I finally managed to catch a screening of HONEYMOON, I went in knowing absolutely nothing about it beforehand, and came out a content horror fan for the most part.
I gotta give props to first time director Leigh Janiak who handled her directorial debut like a veteran. Iâ€™m not a betting man (I always lose), but if I were, Iâ€™d say she was a horror fan; because she sure knew the genre ropes and pulled the strings with talent. Honeymoon managed to do a lot with little. The film was set mostly in one location and for the most part it was about two actors going at it. Needless to say that the fact that Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway tackled the leads definitely played in the movie's favor as they sold the sordid happenings with their visceral performances. Harry Treadaway did a fine job of going from a fairly docile and pathetically weak BETA male, to somebody who finally grew some hair on his sack. While Rose Leslie had me completely riveted to the screen with her layered and intense performance. She went from loving newly wed wife, to, well, I wonâ€™t tell. See the movie to find out! But yeah, she owned that shit.
The chain of events had me by the collar as well and wouldn't let me go. What I really dug about this film is that overall; I couldnâ€™t tell where it was going and that it didnâ€™t have HUGE turns. It was the little things here that launched this story forward. But these seemingly little things wound up bringing us to truly big things that were played in subtle ways, till the hammer swung down...hard. I donâ€™t know if that makes any sense to you, but itâ€™s all I got right now. I am trying to be vague, while being able to talk about the film, kind of tough, just go with it. Furthermore, the use of the woes that often come with a serious relationship to evoke horrorâ€¦ werenâ€™t lost on me. Trust issues, insecurity, jealousy, finding out you donâ€™t FULLY know the person you are with were all themes that surfaced here; brought home with gusto by the â€śhorrorâ€ť inclined fashion it gunned them out. I kept having flashbacks of at leaf 3 exes during this watch. Thanks for the stroll down memory, horror lane!
Add to that gorgeously bleak photography by Kyle Klutz, a minimal yet efficient score by Heather McIntosh, solid supporting turns by Ben Hube & Hanna Brown and a handful of â€śripperâ€ť scenes that came out of nowhere to whoop my ass stupid and you get a potent little chiller that did the trick. Personally, as the end credits rolled, I thought, â€śokay, this is what happenedâ€ť, but as I mulled on the film further the following day, I started thinking â€śwell, maybe this happened instead or thatâ€ť. I dig flicks that get the whole grey matter going; you donâ€™t usually get that in huge movies, so thank Crom for the Indie scene!
Any drawbacks? Well early on the lovebirds were so lovey-dovey with each other that I wanted to puke my McNuggets in my McLap. I know they went to that extreme so that what wound up transpiring hit us harder, but that didnâ€™t make it less nauseating. I couldnâ€™t stand Harry Treadawayâ€™s character for the first act either. He came off more like a kid wanting mommyâ€™s attention (in relation to his gal) than a grown man. I was literally wincing at how pathetically neutered that character was early on. YEESH! It was hard to watch! Again, thankfully that changed once the shit hit the shit and he grew a pair.
Overall, HONEYMOON was a well paced, suspenseful, creepy and brilliantly acted little slow burn horror film, one that was much smarter than the norm. So you going to get hitched with this one or what?
I canâ€™t reveal any of the gore without spoiling some of the movieâ€™s surprises. So all I can say there is light blood and then thereâ€™s a lot of blood. A couple of sequences here will have you tense up, made so much more effective by the fact that you donâ€™t see them coming.
T & A
Rose Leslie gives us her back side and some sideboob action, while the ladies and gay dudes, get Harry Treadawayâ€™s butt and more if you donâ€™t blinkâ€¦ I thinkâ€¦I blinked :)
HONEYMOON was a sweet macabre surprise! It was expertly directed, eerie, unsettling in parts and sported two lead actors who sold the going ons and held the whole thing together like Super Glue. Yes the couple was way too in love at first for me to not share my lunch with the floor and Harry Treadawayâ€™s character so begged for a back-hand and pair a balls in the first act that it was embarrassing, but at the end of it, it all came together beautifully and delivered a subtle, unpredictable and spooky little ditty. In a fair world Leigh Janiak will go places! Mucho recommended!
Leigh Janiak and Phil Graziadei started writing the script in 2010. They were inspired after watching the films â€śTiny Furnitureâ€ť and â€śMonsters
Janiak went with Rose Leslie after seeing her in on Game of Thrones.
The film was shot in Hendersonville, Flat Rock, North Carolina.
Magnet Releasing will release HONEYMOON on iTunes/On Demand and in theaters September 12, 2014.