Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey overview: Gleefully sick clickbait horror


Make no mistake, the virally notorious provocation Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey is a dreary, dispiriting film. It’s meant as a kind of cheeky, transgressively ugly sequel to A.A. Milne’s traditional Nineteen Twenties kids’s books Winnie-the-Pooh and The Home at Pooh Nook — tales impressed by Milne’s personal younger son, Christopher Robin Milne, and his beloved stuffed animals. For the reason that Sixties, these tales have been stored within the public eye by Walt Disney Animation’s animated diversifications and extensions, which mine light adventures out of the interactions between a chubby, hapless teddy bear and his associates.

Blood and Honey was made doable in 2022, when Milne’s copyright on Pooh expired, and writer-director Rhys Frake-Waterfield noticed a chance for a clickbait-worthy horror twist on the character. (Disney’s copyright over its personal model of Milne’s characters stays in impact.) Within the horror-movie model, Pooh and his timid good friend Piglet are all grown up and have develop into serial killers. That’s just about the complete film proper there: a few goons in grotesque Pooh and Piglet masks, silently hacking their method by a bunch of all-but-anonymous victims. There’s barely any framing or narrative; it’s only a sequence of repetitive murders, largely spaced out with scenes of Pooh lurking within the woods or stalking victims.

Picture: Jagged Edge Leisure

Blood and Honey does have just a few issues going for it, for viewers in love with practical-effects gore and traditional exploitation cinema. It isn’t an modern film or a very shocking one, however it does just a few issues nicely:

  • Screaming. For people who find themselves into horror much less for storytelling rigidity or a way of actual menace, and extra as a result of they actually take pleasure in watching gnarly ranges of human struggling, Blood and Honey has loads of that. The performing is usually stiff and the script is repetitive, however the forged uniformly pulls off screams of agony and terror convincingly as Pooh and Piglet are menacing, torturing, or killing them. There’s a lot of screaming, wailing, pleading, and begging on this film.
  • Gore. Given the film’s micro price range, it’s no shock that it leans on sensible results for its head-smashing, throat-slitting, face-rending violence. There’s nothing right here horror experts have by no means seen earlier than, however there are positive sufficient close-ups of splitting skulls and dripping brains to offer exploitation followers a thrill.
  • Grotesquerie. Frake-Waterfield leans laborious into the “honey” a part of Blood and Honey, with Pooh repeatedly taking breaks from the slaughter to cowl his inexpressive face in dripping, sticky slime, which he generally drizzles over his victims as nicely. The entire movie has a distinctively uncooked “Texas Chain Noticed Bloodbath 1974” vibe, from Pooh’s woodsy cabin stuffed with antlers and bones to his Leatherface-style silent, cumbersome menace to the deal with the grotesque. There’s loads of stomach-churning excessive imagery designed to repulse and shock the viewers, and it’s successfully unsettling.

A bikini-clad woman (Natasha Tosini) lounges with her eyes closed in an outdoor hot tub at night while killers Pooh (Craig David Dowsett) and Piglet (Chris Cordell) sneak up behind her in Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey

Picture: Jagged Edge Leisure

However all of that’s nonetheless fairly skinny grist for a film that by no means offers its killers any motive to exist, or its viewers any motive to root for the victims. Early within the film, a now-grown Christopher Robin (Nikolai Leon) and his spouse, Mary (Paula Coiz), head to the Hundred Acre Wooden to reunite with the childhood friends he deserted, and discover solely horror. From there on, the film provides Pooh and Piglet with recent, shrieking meat at mechanical intervals.

The pacing is leaden, the visuals are murky, and there’s just about no motive to care about anybody on the display, besides to idly surprise how they’re going to die, and what their innards will seem like once they do. The one actual rigidity within the film comes from a flashback, as lead sufferer Maria (Maria Taylor) describes a sequence of escalating encounters with a stalker, and for as soon as, the viewers doesn’t know precisely what’s about to occur.

However as an exploitation movie constructed round turning beloved childhood figures into terrifying monsters, Blood and Honey is lacking loads of the core parts it wanted most:

  • Recognition. There’s no sense that the filmmakers behind Blood and Honey have ever learn a Winnie-the-Pooh story, or have any concept what goes into one. There’s no sense of nostalgia, parody, satire, and even primary recognition humor right here. Aside from Pooh and Piglet, all the opposite Hundred Acre Wooden residents are lacking in motion. (A background memorial — seemingly scrawled in blood on a slat of plywood — reads “Eeyore RIP.”) Pooh and Piglet are generic baddies as a substitute of particular ones, aside from Pooh making it clear that he resents Christopher Robin abandoning his outdated playmates after childhood. There’s just about nothing significant to tie these characters to their previous — or to the viewers recollections this movie is meant to be skewering.
  • Dialogue. Frake-Waterfield could also be avoiding having his characters discuss as a result of the voices of Disney’s Pooh characters are so iconic and memorable, and he can’t use them. Or perhaps he thinks muteness simply makes them extra opaque and alien. But it surely leaves them with none sense of persona or specificity. They may actually be Leatherface followers in bizarre masks. Aside from transient Christopher Robin flashbacks, there’s nothing on this film to tell apart the villains from any backwoods horror-movie psychopaths carving up intruders.
  • Humor. C’mon, the thought of figures as cuddly and bumbling as Pooh and Piglet turning into slaughter-monsters is inherently a bit hilarious. And even probably the most po-faced horror motion pictures often use at the very least a bit humor to reset the stress between dramatic sequences. However Blood and Honey is so straight-faced and unrelievedly grim that the viewers is inevitably being set as much as giggle at it as a substitute of with it. Significantly throughout clunky moments just like the one the place a gaggle of girls discover the phrases “GET OUT” scrawled in blood on the home windows of their rental cabin. When considered one of them squeals in worry that there’s a lurking determine exterior, one other responds, “Whoever it’s in all probability wrote that!”
  • Any sense of goal. The concept harmless childhood daydreams inevitably develop into darker over time is a reasonably poignant one. So is the concept that youngsters’ fantasies have weight and which means that outlasts childhood. (Take a look at how a lot emotional mileage Pixar’s Inside Out will get with its imaginary good friend Bing-Bong.) Even the obscure resonance between Maria’s stalker and Christopher Robin’s murder-happy associates hints at a much bigger story in regards to the distressing feeling of different individuals feeling entitled to extra out of you than you’re prepared to or able to giving them.

Pooh (Craig David Dowsett) lunges upward to stab an off screen victim in Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey

Picture: Jagged Edge Leisure

There’s no theme to Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, no larger concept at work, and barely even a narrative. There’s nothing in it you may’t get from a trailer or the poster, besides the screaming and the blood — and for ’70s exploitation followers, a sequence the place a girl improbably will get her shirt ripped off in a combat, so she goes to her bloody demise topless.

Blood and Honey ends with one other old-school contact: A title card studying WINNIE THE POOH WILL RETURN. Earlier than that, although, Frake-Waterfield is targeted on creating an entire “childhood-horror universe” targeted on different public-domain classics that bought Disney diversifications. Peter Pan’s Neverland Nightmare and Bambi: The Reckoning are already within the planning phases. That prospect is scarier than something that really occurs on this film.


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