To promote the theatrical release of Blood Honey, Juan Carlos Noguez Ortiz sat in Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square and had a swarm of bees cover his face for a Guinness World Record breaking 61-minutes. That’s nothing; try watching the movie. Now, there’s a challenge.
Blood Honey is jarring and borderline incomprehensible. The Canadian thriller deals in curiosities, deceptions, and alternative realities, and then inverts the story so its even more difficult for the viewer to follow. According to co-writer/director Jeff Kopas, this “logic-based story” was inspired by “old school thrillers” like The Shining. However, The Shining invited mystery into its world after key characters and conflicts were established – there was a baseline. In Blood Honey, those components are still in construction up until the final scenes; sometimes using poorly superimposed special effects.
“You can’t return home” is what Jenibel Heath learns in Blood Honey. Traumatized at a young age by her mother’s suicide, Jenibel (Shenae Grimes-Beech) checks back in to her homestead at The Hive, a lodge run by her beekeeper father (Gil Bellows), and is shamed and disrespected almost immediately by family and locals. Well, everyone except her sister Linda (The Rainbow Kid’s Krystal Hope Nausbaum), who hits things off with her as if Jenibel never left.
A decision in someone’s will regarding the fate of The Hive is the life-altering crux in Blood Honey. People turn on each other, others earn unexpected trust, violence erupts, and an off-putting sex scene breaks out that only Divine could’ve found titillating. All of this is far and few between, and results in a groan-inducing reveal.
Jeff Kopas and co-writer Doug Taylor (Splice) manipulate their story beyond recognition. Actually, Taylor’s Splice is a good example of this approach working in spades. In that movie, a genetic engineer begins to question his own sanity when he crosses a line that swirls his own perception of reality and morals. It didn’t work for everyone, but it’s a provocative movie that sticks around with audiences afterwards nonetheless. Everything in Blood Honey only swirls together into a lumpy, indistinguishable mass.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie