Review: Honeymoon

Honeymoon A newlywed couple finds their lake-country honeymoon descend into chaos after Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of their first night. honeymoon-strip   john2

Catching Honeymoon last year was a proper coin toss, it was up against Late Phases at Film 4 FrightFest. I’m VERY glad I caught this gem of a movie. The film starts off feeling very much like a deliverance style home invasion film, newlyweds from the city heading to the secluded family cabin in the forrest for their honeymoon. The remoteness of the cabin and location is nicely emphasised by the very small cast in this film, only 4 actors are credited and you don’t see that many more people out around the woods or lake.

After setting up the location (i.e. nowhere) and the dynamics of the couple, Bea (Rose Leslie) disappears in the middle of the night. Paul (Harry Treadaway) finds Bea seemingly sleepwalking in the woods naked and disorientated.  From here strange events and happenings start to occur, scaring Paul as his wife’s behaviour becomes more and more erratic and unusual (insert dated  marriage goes downhill joke here).

The acting from the two leads is great (as you would expect), the chemistry between Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway as a newlywed couple is highly believable. With such a small cast the chemistry and storytelling is great and there aren’t any loose links in the chain.

I really liked the fact that for a decent chunk of the films runtime it kept you guessing as to what was actually going on. Was it a cult initiation? planned sacrifice? Illness? The neighbours?  A new wife playing tricks??? The only other local couple (Will and Annie) and their strange erratic behaviour towards Paul and Bea are the only interactions in the film outside of the newlyweds. The scenes which all four creates some very uncomfortable situations which add to the unnerving behavioural changes in the pair.  The ‘locals’ repeating that they ‘should leave’ and it ‘isn’t safe’ here SCREAMS of this possibly being a monster movie.   As the film develops and Paul begins to struggle to cope with the changes to his wifes behaviour and personality, he starts to loose it. The story unfolds nicely as the film storms into the third act.  On paper the film should almost feel like a slow burn, but keeps its pace nicely making light work of its 87 minute run time.

I was (I admit) a little  disappointed by the reveal – in what it was. But, in the same breath, I liked the way it was played out and how it was dealt with throughout the film. We saw other films the same weekend dealing with similar themes that didn’t create anything half as good as Honeymoon.

Its a shame that even with Rose Leslie’s popularity from Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey that this film docent seem to be getting the attention it deserves.


Honeymoon was a film with a good amount of pre-frightfest buzz. Seemed quite high on a few peoples must see lists, mine included, yet it was up against Late Phases, and Mark was adamant that Late Phases was going to be excellent. So we bought a ticket for Late Phases so we could catch Honeymoon (by the way Mark was spot on, Late Phases is excellent).

Honeymoon is a low budget Horror/Thriller directed by Leigh Janiak, which is her debut feature, which she also co-wrote with Phil Graziadel. With a very sparse cast, that includes Rose Leslie from Game of Thrones fame, and Harry Treadaway from The Lone Ranger and Cockneys Vs Zombies – (which is great fun if you’ve missed it). The cast was one of the reasons I wanted to see the film, Leslie impressed me in Game of Thrones while Treadaway looks a decent prospect for the future. It’s a good job Janiak got two decent actors in on the project, with very little interaction with anybody else throughout the film they have to carry the film on their shoulders, which they did pretty well. It’s well written for the most part, a little awkward maybe in the first twenty minutes, and this introduction to the characters is a little stilted but once strange things start to happen in the woods the script does find its feet. This is where the film started to grab my attention a little more and the night scenes in the woods and around the house were very well shot. From here the film started to become a little creepy, yet with the dark woods, the strange goings on, the film never really seemed to build on its creepiness and the whole thing lacked any real tension and just seemed rather flat going into its abrupt and rather mysterious finale. Yet while it was an interesting ending to the film, it didn’t really satisfy me at all.

There are good ideas, some very good acting and some well written scenes, it’s very well shot in places mostly the night sequences but the positives seem to end there, yet this is by no means a bad film. It just lacks any real tension, maybe something horrific or just something plain scary needed to happen I mean just one decent scare would have been good. Yet it didn’t happen and while I didn’t dislike the film, I wasn’t overly impressed with it either.

This was one of my most anticipated films of last year’s Frightfest and just the synopsis alone captured me without going into it knowing too much or watching trailers for it. A simple premise sees newlywed couple Paul and Bea heading out to a lakeside retreat for what could and should be the perfect getaway but becomes anything but that.

What I found worked really well with HONEYMOON was the fact that it is slow paced, now for some of you that may frustrate the hell out of you but this is a movie that you have to go along with and it slowly builds the tension up, ratcheting it up slowly one notch at a time as Bea’s behaviour becomes increasingly more odd and erratic especially after her husband finds her missing and locates her in the nearby woods. Suspecting something isn’t right the atmosphere builds as what could and should have been the perfect vacation turns into a nightmare.

I don’t want to say too much more as if I do it may spoil what made this such an enjoyable movie but this is one film that knows how to build up an eerie atmosphere and the only negative I would say I found is the frustrating fact you find yourself screaming at the screen for Paul to get himself out of that situation.

I’m not normally a believer in blending elements of sci-fi and horror but within the confines of HONEYMOON it works pretty well. The movie spends most of its running time placing us almost as if we are living in the holiday home with the couple and we are witness to all of the odd occurrences which puts us in a more advantageous position that Paul at times.

Far from perfect but a decent idea, well-acted and a great builder of creepiness that gets under your skin just nicely, HONEYMOON is most definitely worth a watch.


Well, better, late than never ( I’m afraid a combination of my MA project deadline and now being into pre-production on my short film, Solitary, means I’ve been a little lax in submitting reviews. But I’m here now! Miss me?). This is a film that took some rejigging of schedules and screens ( and even some purchasing of tickets to see at FRIGHTFEST last year, so was it worth it? Well, there’s the rub, as a Dickensian character may say.

Paul and Bea are newlyweds who head out to the sticks to spend their first days as newlyweds in a house by the lake. So far, so ‘fish out of water’. The isolated house forms a suitable location for us to understand a little of the relationship between the two. The two central actors, who between them carry a goodly chunk of the film as the only characters, are fairly likeable and the characters feel real, which is good because for much of the running time the viewer is left with the couple in their holiday retreat. Unfortunately, the build up is slow. Slow as in really slow. When Bea, the wife goes off walking in the middle of the night, and their closest neighbours tell them to leave, the build up of tension begins. But, and there is a but.

I feel the eventual payoff just never justifies the investment. When a slow burn movie gives its pay-off the last act reveal either needs to fulfil the earlier promise or else twist in some unexpected way that truly surprises the audience. Honeymoon just didn’t deliver on it’s final reveal/conclusion. This leaves the viewer with a feature film that could and perhaps should have been a short, or even better an episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. For all the strong performances and assured direction, the script ultimately lets this down, struggling to fill the running time.

Certainly not a ‘must buy’ for most, this would still provide 90 minutes of a mildly diverting view when this appears on Netflix or LoveFilm.

 Honeymoon is out on DVD & Blu-Ray on Monday 26th January







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