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Sunday, 5 June 2016

Horror DVD Of The Week: Honeymoon (2014)


Loved-up newly-weds Bea (Game of Thrones' Rose 'You Know Nothing, Jon Snow' Leslie) and Paul (Penny Dreadful's Harry Treadaway) head to Canada for their honeymoon, taking up residence in an out-of-season, lakeside cabin that belongs to Bea's family.

Very quickly things take a turn for the weird when, on their second night there, Paul finds Bea naked and disorientated in the woods surrounding their cabin, apparently having been sleep-walking.

After that, nothing is the same again as Bea's behaviour becomes increasingly odd and distant, while Paul becomes paranoid that she might be having a fling with a childhood friend, Will (Ben Huber), who runs a nearby restaurant with his wife, Annie (Hanna Brown).

Honeymoon was the directorial debut of writer Leigh Janiak, who is now working on the remake of The Craft and has also directed an episode of Outcast and a couple of Scream: The TV Series.

She does a spectacular job of slowly ratcheting up the tension in Honeymoon, the first act of which plays like a very straight-forward romance until events take a dramatic left-turn.

Credit also must go to the two leads, who carry about 90 per cent of the movie on their own (I couldn't help but wonder if this could be adapted into a play).

Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway present us with a pair of wholly convincing young lovers, whose banter and mannerisms really sell the chemistry between them.

And that's what makes the creeping horror that unfolds all the more distressing. Honeymoon doesn't rely on cheap jump scares, instead intelligently freaking us out with bizarre twists, the odd bit of unexpected gruesomeness, and the heartbreaking dissolution of a 'perfect' romantic partnership.

As the tension continued to build through the second act of this 87-minute gem, I feared we were heading for another Last Stop and the story was going to end abruptly without any satisfactory clues as to what was going on.

I'm delighted to report that this is is not the case and, while the ending doesn't spoon feed us an explanation of what's happening to Paul and Bea, we learn enough to piece together a truly unnerving resolution.

if you think The Conjuring and Paranormal Activity are the epitome of horror movie making, then Honeymoon is probably not for you. But if you don't mind films that take the time to let characters breathe and grow, and behave realistically, then you really need to track this one down.

Owing more to The X-Files than Evil Dead, Honeymoon puts a particularly dark spin on a sci-fi staple and serves up a very unique little psychological horror film.

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