I don’t agree with other critics that complain about Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey having barely anything to do with the source material. It doesn’t matter that in this new horror reimagining of the tale they’re animal-human hybrids that turn to cannibalism and eat their friend Eeyore. It doesn’t matter that Christopher Robin abandons them to go to uni, turning them against humankind. It really doesn’t matter that someone decided to make a twisted version of a children’s tale. It just matters whether it’s good or not.
This film is not good. That I can agree on.
Opening on a quaint retelling of our childhood friend’s story perversely drawn in a young kid’s scribble, it then turns out Christopher Robin’s (Nikolai Leon) return to the 100 Acre Wood’s isn’t welcomed. After Piglet slashes the throat of his dear fiancé (Maria Taylor) we finally jump to the main plot. This film suffers from being too fast and too slow, jumping from space to space with no discerning style whilst lingering on interactions for too long. It leaves plenty of room to laugh at the abhorrent acting and writing travesties, but not enough time to admire the better bits like makeup and set design.
The main plot follows the classic slasher narrative; five girls rent a big house in the woods, complete with hot tub for those obviously necessary bikini-shots, and get picked off one-by-one by Pooh and Piglet. The masks for the killers were fun – one of many little design bits that could have been a part of something good had more of the film leaned into it. Watching Pooh look up at the rain, a tear of honey sliding down his cheek? Incredible. Where was this energy in the scenes of murder and other plot points? The lack of acting can be excused to a point and there’s nothing wrong with low-budget productions, but to put care and effort into some parts and not others is just poor filmmaking. Lean into the low-budget; make it obvious as a director that you want to be aware of what you’re making.
The whole notion of the nation’s beloved Winnie-the-Pooh turning into a cannibalistic killer is funny. It’s gruesome, stupid, and needed to be delved into in its entirety. This film simultaneously took itself too seriously and not seriously enough. The effort of some aspects, such as the SFX, were totally out of place against the tragedies of the acting, writing, editing – oh, god, the editing – and drew a clear outline around what the money was spent on.
The 100 Acre Woods had a lovely, whimsical feel to the trees that were twisted around the little homes of Pooh and Piglet where they slaughtered and killed. The popped-out eyeball of one kill was so well done in such a gorgeously camp way, but the scene that preceded it was drawn out by an editor that doesn’t understand pacing and an awkward movement of characters that lacked agency, purpose, and direction.
This had cult-classic written all over it, but cult films become loved when there’s a passion in them that’s palpable. This did not have that, and is likely because the Jagged Edge production company led by the directors, writers, producers, and editors Rhys Frake-Waterfield and Scott Jeffrey churn out an excessive amount of films every year. It does not come from a love of filmmaking when Blood and Honey is the result of their constant ten-day shoots. A feature film in ten days? I see why Pooh was crying honey.
2/10 for the film.
10/10 for the random American hillbilly and his crew that gave me I Spit on Your Grave vibes, but ended up being a lovely bunch of characters that should’ve headed the plot.