Review: HONEYMOON (2014)

This is the type of movie that makes you not wanting to get married just so you don´t have to go on a honeymoon. I mean, I just got engaged with my girlfriend and the thought of entering a plane to fly on my honeymoon already freaks the living crap out of me. I´m the type of guy that always wants to stay in control of my environment and just thinking about being in a huge Plane loaded with thousands of gallons of fuel flying around in the sky makes me go nuts. So I am already a little stressed out over honeymoons in general, and though the title sounds like it´s all fun and games, this is actually THE materialization of an Anti-Honeymoon Movie for me! But enough of that.
Maybe some of you know the feeling when a partner suddenly acts differently after a while in the relationship. HONEYMOON uses this little detail that is probably well known to all of us and uses it to craft a thrilling plot about a young couple whose honeymoon trip to a remote location deep in the woods ends in absolute terror. At first, everything is euphoric and beautiful, but when Paul wakes up in the middle of the night to find his newly wed wife with a ripped nightgown, everything changes. I don´t want to tell you too much about the plot because that´s actually one of HONEYMOON´s real strengths. You sit there, wondering what this movie is about and it just takes always and forever until you understand what is actually going on.
In a way, I liked HONEYMOON a lot. You can almost sense Paul´s terror when his wife suddenly starts acting strangely and keeping in mind the low budget that Leigh Janiak filmed this for, it´s really well done. Apart from the two lead actors Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway, there were only a handful of actors involved in the making of this “chamber play”. Most parts of the plot are set in the cabin and everything is really slow paced. That doesn´t necessarily has to be something bad but everyone who expects an effect ridden Horror movie will be totally disappointed. Because when I just said SLOW PACED, I actually meant REALLY, really slow paced and for my taste, it takes a little too long until there is some real horror involved here. And most of the scary stuff is actually borderline Sci-Fi, so it´s kinda hard to categorize this movie. There are elements from UFO movies and I feel like there were many references to Sam Raimi´s classic THE EVIL DEAD. And those elements are really good, but especially towards the ending, everything could have been a lot better by the addition of a little more horror. I mean, the acting is great and I really enjoyed seeing the British Actress Rose Leslie from GAME OF THRONES in a horror movie but the ending felt rushed and did totally disappoint me. But it´s actually some kind of Independent Movie and chances are that they just didn’t have enough budget left to make a better ending for this psychological horror flick. The screenplay is good, but some of the dialogues were overwritten and a little bit more editing could have really helped the slow-moving plot to be less heavy. As a viewer, you sit there through the elongated characterization process of the two main characters and the so called overture won’t end, and when you are finally at the point when this is turning into something darker, the movie is over. And ends with an ending that somehow leaves you alone with its interpretation and though I sometimes enjoy open endings, I totally hated this one. If this is a horror film, it is the Woody Allen Version of a horror film and calling it true horror would be a little presumptuous. It´s rather some kind of neat Indie movie where most of the horror works on an emotional and psychological level. And in that sense, it totally succeeded and managed to keep me interested enough to sit through the heavy parts! And I have the attention span of an ant! So, that´s absolutely a plus and the movie has some really creepy scenes. Unfortunately, just not enough. But though HONEYMOON is very slow paced, it is NOT boring, which can mostly be credited to the great acting of the two lead actors. Still, the non existing conclusion to the slow build up leaves a rather mixed taste in my mouth, though this is definitely one of the best “horror movies” of 2014. And for a directorial debut,HONEYMOON is very promising and I am really looking forward to see more movies of this aspiring new directress.