Combustible Celluloid
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With: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Ben Huber, Hanna Brown
Written by: Leigh Janiak, Phil Graziadei
Directed by: Leigh Janiak
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing bloody images, sexual content and language
Running Time: 87
Date: 09/12/2014

Honeymoon (2014)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Directed by Leigh Janiak, Honeymoon opens with some wedding video testimonials, and it looks as if it's going to be yet another in the oh-so-tired "found footage" subgenre, but thankfully Janiak has more in mind.

Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) are newlyweds, fresh from a wedding that mirrors their courtship (including Indian food and a ceremony under a tent). As they start their lives together, they embark on a honeymoon to Bea's family cabin in the woods.

At first, things are blissful. One evening they head to a local restaurant, where two of the locals are acting strangely. Later, Paul finds Bea standing in the middle of the woods at night, apparently having sleepwalked. After that, she begins acting strangely, forgetting things, and generally not seeming like herself. Paul grows more and more alarmed, and eventually decides to leave. But it may be too late.

As the movie starts, the married couple is annoyingly perky and cluelessly hopeful, and also, it turns out, woefully unprepared to deal with anything resembling a real problem. (A discussion about the use of the word "womb" is the first sticking point.)

The characters can be irritating, but it appears that they might have been designed that way on purpose, as a way of illustrating the primal nature of male-and-female relationships. Director Leigh Janiak seems to be asking questions about what's missing in today's cute-couple culture. In her narrative, Janiak keeps switching things up, and nothing leads quite where you think it will. Moreover, her low-budget setting generates scares out of simple ideas; who knew that burnt toast could send a chill up the spine?

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