There’s lots to love about Honeymoon
by Nav Qateel
Bea and Paul are honeymooning at a secluded cabin that belongs to Bea’s family. The honeymoon has barely started when in the middle of the night a worried Paul (Harry Treadaway) finds Bea standing naked out in the woods with strange marks on her thigh. Bea (Rose Leslie), however, doesn’t have a satisfactory answer as to what happened in the woods. Bea acting so bizarrely forces Paul to take action but he soon discovers leaving may no longer be an option.
First-time director Leigh Janiak’s Honeymoon, may well have an all-too-familiar ring to it–cabin in the woods, twentysomethings, newlyweds–but where this genre flick differs from those other pretenders, is the fact Janiak got it right. It did get off to a shaky start, yet got better and better as the minutes went by.
Rose Leslie, who most will recognise as Game of Thrones‘ Ygritte, really worked wonders with her character Bea, but her accent needed a wee bit more work. With this being a low-budget effort, however, I doubt the money was there for a voice coach, and it really wasn’t that big of a deal. If anyone has seen that excellent horror from earlier in the year Oculus, then you’ll remember it too starred a lovely Scots lass, also a redhead, Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy). I only bring it up to highlight the difference a good voice coach can make. Because we never truly knew, until the end of course, on which side Bea actually stood, it made it difficult to know how to feel about the character, and I thought Leslie handled the part remarkably well. It can’t be easy playing a character like Bea, and still gain sympathy from the audience.
Harry Treadaway has also made a bigger impact as an actor in TV, as he recently played Victor Frankenstein in Penny Dreadful. That’s just one more indication of how much TV has become almost cinematic, but that’s another story. Paul started off as being quite jealous, however this is after the couple bump into someone from Bea’s past. Later, though, the jealousy is replaced with concern and anger, in about equal measure, and it gave Treadaway a chance for some solid drama. Ben Huber and Hanna Brown (Will and Annie) had rather modest roles, yet important to the story, completing all four members of the cast.
As mentioned, Honeymoon took a little while to get settled, and I blame the unconvincing dialogue for that. We more or less open on the couple talking into their video camera (and had me double-checking it wasn’t a found-footage flick!) giving some perfunctory backstory, in what I can only describe as clumsy and unnecessary. “Last one in’s a rotten egg!” That line was used more than once, and each time had me laughing and shaking my head in disbelief. I remember thinking, “Do people in this day-and-age still say that?!” Those are Honeymoon‘s only faults, and the rest more than made up for the early faux pas.
There’s lots to love about Honeymoon, and besides the acting from Leslie and Treadaway, the pacing is where this film shines. Once it does begin to pick up, we’re taken relentlessly on an unnerving trip, one we know can’t possibly end well. Director Leigh Janiak has lots to offer as a filmmaker, with his debut movie a clear indicator of just that. A must see for psychological horror fans.