Directed By: Rhys Frake-Waterfield
Starring: Maria Taylor, Craig David Dowsett, Chris Cordell
Plot Summary: Christopher Robin enjoys a wonderful childhood with his wilderness friends including Pooh and Piglet. Sadly, Christopher must say goodbye to his friends to go off to college and start a new life. Years have gone which have twisted the beloved pals into blood thirsty killers, in search for new sources of food. Meanwhile, a woman who experienced trauma decides to go on a holiday with her gal pals in the middle of the woods. What could go wrong? Blood and cliches abound.
The indie horror movie scene has been really quite stellar as of late. Low budget films like The Outwaters and Skinamarink have been proving you don’t need to break the bank to make a buzzworthy horror outing. Still, it never hurts to take a beloved IP and remix it into a horror film to get extra attention from film news outlets. This is the case with Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, which takes advantage of Winnie the Pooh going into the public domain, but is it just a cheap ploy, or does it actually add anything to the indie horror discourse?
This is the question I asked myself during a nearly empty one-night screening. Sadly, despite an entertaining animated introduction, the movie never manages to rise above its novelty. Even so, this movie does have a few highlights. Whatever you might think about this movie’s problems (and there are many), it’s surprisingly filled to the brim with style. The DP and production designer on Blood and Honey go hard on how well shot and atmospheric it is. Hell, there were times when it almost looked like a Euro arthouse film.
The practical effects are overall extremely well done. What gore hounds are treated to is skull crunching, chunky gore and blood galore. Of course, the sculpting work on the masks for Pooh and Piglet are very nicely crafted. Though, one may wonder if the masks broke the budget, as Pooh’s other woodland friends are only mentioned in the intro, but never seen on screen. The film does have some wickedly funny moments such as Eeyore’s tail on his rustic looking headstone.
Oh bother, sadly, this is where the praise ends. Much like The Mean One, this movie takes itself far too seriously for its own good. The humor and absurd nature of big over-the-top cartoon characters killing people clashes with the film shoving in very serious topics, which include sexual abuse, PTSD and stalking. None of this awful and gross subject matter even factors into the narrative as it is. For example, Maria is the victim of harassment and stalking, and in one ugly scene her stalker breaks into her house and gropes her in bed. All of this cringe is merely to set up the reason why Maria and her friends are renting a posh cabin in the woods. All of this could have been saved by merely just saying the get together was for fill-in-the-blank reason. While on the subject of characters, everyone is beyond shallow. For a film that feels almost ashamed of its own horror roots, it certainly falls back on enough of the tropes and one-note stock characters of classic horror films.
Some awkward narrative threads that are left dangling make it seem like this movie was either severely cut for time or some elements from earlier drafts somehow made it into the final product. Whatever the case is, this is a flashy Rob Zombie style knock-off that is coasting off the press because it’s Winnie the Pooh. The movie never has fun with the horror, nor does it have the smart writing to justify its deeply earnest take on the children’s story. Had this movie just focused on being an enjoyable slasher and ignored the needlessly overwritten character study, it would have worked much better. As it stands, this is a gimmick horror film that is bleak, grim and sucks all the joy out of its over-the-top premise.
Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is currently playing in select theaters courtesy of Fathom Events.
This is a gimmick horror film that is bleak, grim and sucks all the joy out of its over-the-top premise.
Big film nerd and TCM Obsessed. Author of The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema from Schiffer Publishing. Resume includes: AMC’s The Bite, Scream Magazine etc. Love all kinds of movies and television and have interviewed a wide range of actors, writers, producers and directors. I currently am a regular co-host on the podcast The Humanoids from the Deep Dive and have a second book in the works from Bear Manor.