Friday, October 2, 2015

31 Days of Horror-Day 2: Honeymoon (2014)

(dir. Leigh Janiak)

Magnolia Pictures
I originally planned on saving this little gem until a little later in the month as it is, alongside It Follows, the most gripping horror film I’ve seen in 2015. But what the hell, let’s continue with a strong start. Honeymoon follows a newly married couple, Bea and Paul as they honeymoon at a cabin grounds from Bea’s childhood. But what starts as a romantic getaway quickly descends into horror after Bea disappears one night and returns…different.

Leigh Janiak makes an admirable directorial debut with Honeymoon, creating a film that not only holds up well amongst her contemporaries but also one that can stand alongside the directorial greats of the genre. While some of the film’s body horror elements clearly take a page from David Cronenberg, it’s the quiet moments of distrust, hurt, and pretend that make up the film’s most memorable moments. Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway are both utterly convincing in their depiction of a couple who genuinely loves one another, but don’t understand what the other truly needs or wants. The isolated space they must dwell in forces them to interact with each other, and things that were once endearing become irritating, picking away at their interiors until both characters stand truly naked in front of each other for the first time. The film’s overarching metaphor may not be subtle, but it completely works because of how fully developed both characters are. But most impressive is Honeymoon’s ability to utilize the unfamiliar, not only in terms of how the characters see each other, but also in terms of the horror concepts at work.

Scare Factor: 5/5 Heart-breaking and unsettling, Honeymoon is like a more character-driven episode of The Twilight Zone, offering chilling moments of quiet and explicitly satisfying genre concepts.

*Available to watch on Netflix Instant

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