Expertly playing upon the fears of losing control of your own faculties and discovering that no, you absolutely no longer know the person you are married to, Honeymoon is startlingly effective most of the time and stylistically brilliant some of the time. Although I cannot pretend that the ending is not somewhat of a disappointment after such a great build-up, I still think it was definitely better than it could have been considering the subject matter.
Bea (Rose Leslie of Game of Thrones fame) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) are a young, recently married couple whose newlywed cutesiness often approaches vomitus. At least with them having been wed by the beginning, we miss the meet-cute that undoubtedly transpired before the film took place. But Honeymoon isn’t as much about these people as what happens to them during their nuptials, and baby, that shit ain’t pretty.
For their Honeymoon, Bea takes Luke to her family’s gorgeous cabin on the lake, and that’s when the weird shit happens to the besotted couple. Initially expecting a period of boating on the lake, pleasant conversation, and passionate love-making, Bea starts acting… bizarre. Calling her behavior weird is putting it lightly, and as she loses her sense of self Paul tries to reach the woman he fell desperately in love with.
A heads-up- “Honeymoon” is not a mental illness movie. But to tell you anything more about the plot would be a disservice to your watching experience. The plot of this movie is simple and to-the-point, but the way the filmmaker, Leigh Janiak, builds tension is damn close to masterful, even if the payoff is ever so slightly disappointing. We start with Bea and Paul, the happiest couple on earth, and peel back the layers to reveal an absolute nightmare. How will this duo, deep in the throes of wedded bliss, deal with a terrifying and unearthly situation?
Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway give very natural, affecting performances. Their characters are undoubtedly underwritten, but the movie provides us with what we need to know about them- they are young, naïve, and very much in love. There seems to be subtext on gender roles in play here- Bea is disappointed by Paul’s seeming softness and sensitive nature and asks him in a moment of wild abandon if he’s ever ‘killed anything,’ and he tries to prove himself to her.
Later, Bea plays the part of the stereotypical hysterical, unreasonable woman and Paul has to stand up to the task of containing her. I recommend you avoid the trailer to this film and just watch it. You might find, like I did, that “Honeymoon” satisfies your appetite for good, tense indie horror with a couple of hair-raisingly gruesome moments to keep you on your toes.