Bea and Paul are that cute couple you wish to never go out to dinner with. They’re not terrible people or arrogant, they’re just overwhelmingly in love. They’re those newlyweds who have cute nicknames for each other and always have an enamoured smile plastered on. On the car ride home, you’re significant other would turn to you and say, “They were nice. We should be more like them.”
Maybe that’s why I received so much satisfaction from Honeymoon when weird things started to occur around Bea and Paul. This could be proof that I have a heart of cold concrete, but these are characters that need complications to keep us interested. The eeriness that occurs in Leigh Janiak’s film causes the lead couple to change attitudes and become more involved in something other than themselves, and peer into the dangerous unknown.
Janiak’s film takes the attractive couple (played by Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway) to the woods for a romantic honeymoon, only to find the atmosphere getting thicker with ominous activity. One night, Bea disappears and Paul finds her naked and dazed. She proclaims nothing happened and that this was an incident of common sleepwalking. The thing is Paul has never witnessed Bea sleepwalk, and he’s noticing his wife flubbing everyday activities.
As far as low-key and low budget horrors go, Honeymoon does a serviceable job at delivering plenty of suspense and an effective squirm-worthy finale. Bea and Paul may play obnoxious characters, but both performers stay true to how the role has been moulded by Janiak and are able to adapt to Honeymoon’s crazy narrative.
The story itself feels like its missing an underlining alegory between lovers and a future filled with uncharted territory. If there is one like that I missed, Janiak could’ve afforded to be a bit more vocal with it. But, as I said, as a simple scary movie that’s here to give us the heebie-jeebies, it consistently delivers an uneasy feeling that makes us feel twisted while we endure this grave getaway in Canadian cottage country. It’s exactly what I needed after humdrum homegrown horrors like Solo and Silent Retreat.
There’s great sound design that adds to Honeymoon’s creepiness, and make-up effects that are able to pull bona-fide discomfort from viewers.
One could make the argument that Honeymoon’s story is essentially a further fleshed out Paranormal Activity creepshow. It’s contained within a single environment, dealing with “forces”. While this may follow similar footsteps, the Paranormal Activity films work for a different kind of payoff. Janiak is interested in another type of scare. It’s the kind of fright that dares us to question trust; especially in the ones we love and have a personal connection to. If that mere suggestion begins to form the slightest knot in your stomach, I recommend you check out Honeymoon as soon as you can.