Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Honeymoon: The Newlyweds’ Cabin in the Woods
American dream does not seem to apply to newlyweds Paul and Bea. (They do not
have much of a British dream either.) Instead of hoping for a better life than
their parents were afforded, they mostly just expect to huddle together as best
they can. As a result, it is disappointing but almost fitting when a sinister
shadow is cast over their post-wedding getaway in Leigh Janiak’s Honeymoon (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
was not exactly a shotgun wedding, but viewers get the sense Paul and Bea’s nuptials
were somewhat abrupt. Nevertheless, they are clearly young and in love—but decidedly
not rich. Their honeymoon will just be a few days at her family cabin and then
it is back to the grind. At least they will have plenty of privacy, even though
Paul was a little put out when they ran into Bea’s childhood sweetheart in
town. Frankly, he seemed a little . . . weird.
is lovey-dovey for the first twenty minutes or so, until Bea has a strange
sleepwalker incident (or something). The next morning she seems distant and
decidedly less into Paul. Maybe we can’t blame her for that, but Paul notices
other forms of suspicious behavior. He tries to be proactive and engaged, but
she is not having any of that.
straddling the horror and psychological thriller categories, Honeymoon is a tricky film to get a
handle on. There is precious little gore, but it insidiously plays to our fears
and paranoia regarding postmodern, post-AIDS intimacy. How well can we ever
know someone and how easily can they change? Of course, all bets are off when
an uncanny agency is at work.
one hour and twenty-seven minutes, Harry Treadaway and Rose Leslie go from
insufferably cute to ominously tragic. While both are up-and-coming British
screen thesps (she was Gwen Dawson, the chambermaid who yearned for a secretarial
career in season one of Downton Abbey;
he brings the creepy clamminess as Dr. Frankenstein in Penny Dreadful) they believably play generic English speakers.
Maybe they’re Canadian (they have plenty of cabins up there). Leslie and
Treadaway also develop convincing romantic chemistry on the way up the
narrative arc and claustrophobic dramatic tension on the way down.
Seriously, when is a cabin in the woods ever a
good idea in the movies? Regardless, Honeymoon
is almost too subtle for its own good at times. While that might cost it
with the midnight movie crowd, it will appeal to more mature genre fans. Moody
and unsettling, Honeymoon is an
impressive feature debut for Janiak, worth checking when it opens this Friday
(9/12) in New York at the Cinema Village.
Labels: Horror Movies