January 20, 2015 Honeymoon (Movie Review)
The exciting buzz after someone gets married continues as they journey on their honeymoon. The butterflies in one’s stomach when they look at their new spouse and their combined growing hope for the future, those feelings of excitement and discovery at their new life together are fueled by passion, intensity, and most importantly, love. However, sometimes it does not go to plan, and it may be discovered the person one has just married is not who they seemed to be. The latest movie to be released by Magnolia Pictures, released on September 23th, 2014 in the United States, titled Honeymoon, tells the story of young newlyweds, Bea (Rose Leslie: Downton Abbey 2010, Game of Thrones 2014) and Paul (Harry Treadaway: The Lone Ranger 2013, Penny Dreadful 2014). Written by Phil Graziadei (Not Fade Away 2012), and Leigh Janiak (Mirror Mirror 2012, Europa Report 2013), whom makes her directorial debut, the story of Honeymoon starts just after Bea and Paul’s wedding as they use a video recorder to record loving messages to each other to watch again in future times.
They have opted for a lower key honeymoon and head to a cabin Bea’s parents own in a French part of Canada. Overlooking a lake and surrounded by picturesque but boundless woods, it is the perfect place for seclusion and a romantic getaway. Bea and Paul spend the first day or two thoroughly exploring the local area, and each other. One evening they decide to go into the small town nearby and enter a restaurant looking for a meal. Paul and Bea are surprised by the aggressiveness of the owner, Will ( Ben Huber: Dick Night 2011, Kirstin Lives in Los Angeles 2013), until he realizes he knows Bea from their childhood. Will introduces his wife Annie (Hanna Brown: Southland of the Heart 2010, False Ground 2014) to Bea and Paul, who appears to be unwell and warns them to leave.
Shortly after reuniting her friendship with Will, Bea begins acting strangely and Paul is immediately concerned. Late that evening, after being woken too early by mis-setting his alarm for a fishing trip, Paul finds that Bea has disappeared. He searches the cabin and the woods only to find that in his absence she has returned to the cabin, disorientated, on her own. Bea has no memory of what happened while she was gone, but her behavior becomes increasingly bizarre. Paul is at a loss to explain what has changed to make his beautiful, effervescent, new wife turn into a total stranger. Where once she drew herself into his embrace, she now rebukes his affections, being secretive and disturbing. What was in the woods that could have made Bea start acting like Annie? What is the strange sticky substance that is on Bea’s clothes and is buried inside her? As each day comes, Paul is faced with a new horror, his mind not able to believe what his eyes are seeing. In just a few short days, Paul and Bea ride a turbulent emotional roller coaster, with every aspect of human emotion being experienced. Their lives and their relationship are quickly torn apart, leaving little hope for their future together.
With elements of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and The Stepford Wives (1975 & 2004), Honeymoon has a dark yet building suspense, taking the viewer on an emotional journey. Honeymoon reminds those that are married of the excitement and joy of the honeymoon before injecting them with a good dose of terror. The cinematography by Kyle Klutz (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 2009, Sequence 2013) certainly creates a mysterious, yet beautiful, background for the disintegration of Paul and Bea, with minimalist special effects handled well. Leslie and Treadaway make solid appearances as the two main characters and handle the intensity of the script like the experienced actors they are.
Honeymoon is fast-paced and intriguing, and by the time anything spooky happens, the viewer really knows Paul and Bea which creates empathy for the characters. The only thing that would have made the movie better, was if what was in the woods was explained in greater detail along with offering for history on the relationship between Will and Bea, and the areas past. A surprise ending completes a sad but interesting storyline with plenty of twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing. A must watch movie, CrypticRock scores Honeymoon 4 out of 5 stars.