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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Honeymoon (Blu-ray)
Honeymoon (Blu-ray)
Magnolia Home Entertainment // R // January 13, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted January 7, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

Mainstream horror continued to flounder in 2014, but a number of promising independent features managed to fill the void with original chills and thrills. I really like the premise of Leigh Janiak's Honeymoon, and the uneasy, uncertain tension overshadows the somewhat disappointing ending. Newlyweds Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) spend several days of wedded bliss at Bea's childhood vacation home before something sets Bea on edge. Honeymoon is a delicate, slowly burning thriller that kept me on edge throughout. The pacing is problematic in spots, but the leads have strong, believable chemistry. The last act dives into decidedly gorier territory and is not as impressive as the scenes before, but Honeymoon provides palpable tension on a shoestring budget.

The film opens with a charming wedding video in which Bea and Paul detail their disastrous first date, courtship and eventual marriage. After the unseen wedding, the pair drives to Bea's family's secluded summer cabin for a budget honeymoon. They flirt, have sex, make breakfast and spend hours talking; the perfect honeymoon. A few days into the trip, Paul awakens to an empty bed, and ultimately finds a delirious Bea outside in the woods. The next morning, her head is still groggy, but she claims sleepwalking caused her to leave the house. Paul is skeptical, but pushes on with the honeymoon. Tensions rise as Bea and Paul begin bickering and Bea's behavior becomes irrational.

The film managed to throw me off of the scent of what is really going on for quite some time, which is impressive. Honeymoon subtly drops hints, red herrings and clues to the mystery throughout. Bea is overly defensive when Paul accidently references her "womb." An encounter with a childhood boyfriend nearly turns violent when Bea meets him in town. Paul begins doubting his own sanity, but Bea is strangely unconcerned with her changing temperament. Janiak, who wrote the script with Phil Graziadei, wanted to show how even small disturbances can drive people apart, and sought to push Paul and Bea to a breaking point. Her writing is strong, as is her direction, which shows Janiak has mastered the use of natural lighting, off-screen space and unseen terror.

Leslie and Treadaway truly are the stars of this show, and share a chemistry that is almost uncomfortably intimate. The pair may not be real-life newlyweds, but they sure fooled me. Their interactions are completely authentic; they seem enamored with one another. That things go south is all the more heartbreaking thanks to this early bliss. Honeymoon eventually shows its cards in an intense climax that stifles the mood a bit. The ending is acceptable but abrupt, and I kind of wanted everything to be OK again. This is an impressive showing for rookie director Janiak, and I look forward to seeing what she creates next.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 1.85:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image comes from a digital source, but retains a nice, film-like appearance. Janiak goes for a very natural look throughout. The actors' appearances and the locations are not exaggerated, and the transfer handles the elements appropriately. Skin tones are good and colors nicely saturated. Black levels are inky; sometimes Janiak allows the viewer into the shadows, other times she does not. Fine-object detail is abundant, and wide shots are clear and without distortion. I noticed no harsh edge halos or digital noise.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix features the requisite ambient and action effects. The rolling score is deep and nicely mixed, and dialogue is always clear. Ambient effects like crickets and wind are subtly effective, and louder, mysterious action effects get LFE backup. English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles are included.

EXTRAS:

You get an Interview with Actors Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway (9:04/HD); an Interview with Director Leigh Janiak (7:28/HD); The Worm Behind the Scenes (1:46/HD); Canoe Behind the Scenes (2:33/HD); AXS TV: A Look at Honeymoon (2:23/HD); and some Trailers (5:21 total/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Well shot and acted, Honeymoon is a strong independent horror film from rookie director Leigh Janiak. Leads Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway share strong chemistry, and the film teases our fear of the unknown. Recommended.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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