DVD Review: Honeymoon
Sex and horror have shared a marriage like relationship since the inception of the genre. Since the inception of the genre, the two have been pretty much inseparable. And that strong lineage lives on in debut director Leigh Janiak's Honeymoon.
The film centres around newlyweds Paul and Bea, a perfectly normal couple with a very active appetite for sex, who travel up to Bea's family cabin by the lake for their honeymoon. Nothing out of the ordinary with that but things start taking a turn for the strange after Bea sleep walks through the woods and isn't quite herself when she comes back. Things turn even weirder when they bump into an old friend and his wife who seem to be exhibiting the same problems. Cue lights flickering on and off, a mystery stranger in the woods and a body horror scene that would make Cronenberg proud. The film relies heavily on the performance of the two leads, Harry Treadaway and Rose Leslie, who anchor the film. Treadaway puts in an exceedingly strong performance as a man who begins to fear he may have married someone he doesn't know and Leslie's slow breakdown is convincingly painful to watch.
More so than any other genre, horror is consistently pigeon holed by endless cliches, predictable endings and worn out story lines. So with that in mind, what the director has attempted to do with Honeymoon is admirable and she very nearly accomplishes it. While the setting, it's a cabin in the woods we have all seen it before, and situation may have you predicting one concrete outcome but instead Janiak throws us of kilter with a final twist that surprises. Yet the film's biggest flaw is it feels like Janiak has created two films within one and at times they don't sit harmoniously side by side. These two films may jar sometimes but when they work they really work, displaying Janiak as a real talent and one to watch out for in the future. The final film is an unflinching metaphor for the fear of commitment hidden in a horror film, wrapped up in a science fiction thriller.