Edinburgh International Film Festival

Honeymoon (2014)

Starring: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Ben Huber, Hanna Brown

Directed by: Leigh Janiak

Rating: 1 2 3 4

Harry Treadaway as Paul in Honeymoon

Ah, to be young and in love. To be newly wed, utterly self-absorbed, unable to get enough of each other. To retreat to an idyllic cabin by a lake with no phone reception or internet, to spend every waking moment together, alone. To slowly watch your passionate, all-encompassing love slowly crumble into mistrust and misery as an unexplained, insidious force from the woods infiltrates your lives. To feel that a happy ending is really not on the cards any more...

That, in a nutshell is the plot of Honeymoon. The couple in question are Bea (Rose Leslie, aka Ygritte from Game of Thrones) and Paul (Harry Treadaway, who'll always be one half of Brothers of the Head to me), a sickeningly happy, just married pair who retreat to Bea's family cottage for an intimate honeymoon. But as Paul sees Bea slip into her childhood countryside element it becomes clear that the couple don't know each other quite as well as they think they do, and as tensions rise it becomes hard to tell who is unravelling faster.

I had very little idea what Honeymoon was about before I saw it, and it seems to me that this is the perfect way to approach it. Which of course makes it rather hard to review, except to say that it's extremely gripping, Cronenbergianly yukky in places and doesn't go at all where you think it's going to.

In the Q&A following the Edinburgh International Film Festival screening, director Leigh Janiak explained that the film was inspired by the paranoid movies of the 1970s: Rosemary's Baby, The Shining, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But Honeymoon takes these classic influences, and, like other recent horror films such as Jug Face and Lovely Molly, weaves them into something new, re-framing issues of female sexuality in a modern, thought-provoking way.

Honeymoon is getting a UK release so if you think a film that crosses Repulsion with The Brood sounds good then make sure you don't miss it.

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