I’m not a fan of science fiction and horror being mixed; I think when done both are lessened rather than strengthened. Honeymoon is a perfect example of sci-fi/horror failure.
Bea and Paul are newlyweds (Rose Leslie of Game of Thrones fame and Harry Treadaway of Penny Dreadful) who take their honeymoon at a cabin in the woods on a lake owned by Bea’s family. Essentially, we are presented with an hour and half bottle episode as the couple moves from newly wedded bliss to intense anxiety and self-doubt to complete dissolution at the hands of an outside force. While the premise of superficial cracks turning into significant fissures is one which would work well for both sci-fi and horror in this instance it comes off as irritating and tiresome.
Leslie and Treadaway are not bad actors but they have a tendency to push their performances into melodrama; they go big when they should go small and linger far too long on their initially successful subtle moments. However, the two have a very good chemistry as Bea and Paul making the couple’s tension feel very real. There are no scares in this film until the final twenty minutes but during the bulk of the film there isn’t any substantive mystery. What I mean by substantive mystery is there’s nothing drawing us in to figure out what is going wrong. Rather, what we see is strangeness shrugged off or pondered to the point of festering without any action taken. It’s a frustrating story.
I love patient films but Honeymoon doesn’t earn its payoff because during the wait there is no performance, shot, or sequence of merit. In the final frenetic quarter of the film, we get a truly wincing bit of genital mutilation, a truly disturbing assault/binding sequence, and then our nauseating sci-fi monster reveal. It is genuinely wild film-making made all the more sudden and shattering due to the near absolute quiet of the previous three-quarters of the film. However, the denouement feels tacked on leaving more questions than answers while managing to hastily dissipate the terror just unleashed.
A disappointing, woefully unbalanced film.