Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey Review – A boring horror spin on classic characters
It’s pretty wild how a well-known character or franchise going into public domain opens up tons of possibilities. Once an iconic franchise or character can be used freely by the public, there’s virtually no limit to the genres and ideas that can be explored. Not too long after A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard’s Winnie-the-Pooh books became public domain last year, it was announced that a horror/slasher retelling of the beloved children’s books was in the works, and it’s finally arrived.
Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, the directorial debut of Rhys Frake-Waterfield, depicts both Winnie-the-Pooh (Craig David Dowsett) and his old pal Piglet (Chris Cordell) as ruthless killers who seek revenge on Christopher Robin (Nikolai Leon) after he left for college. Along with Christopher Robin, Pooh and Piglet also set their sights on terrorizing a group of college girls staying at a cabin just outside 100 Acre Woods. This all leads to a night of terror filled with grotesque killings and some blood-fueled horrors.
While it’s easy to look at Blood and Honey as a budget-less slasher that’s solely made for the shock value of seeing innocent characters like Pooh and Piglet as bloodthirsty killers, there are some creative elements that show it as slightly something more. Pooh’s face definitely instill chills at the mere sight of it and is pretty well-designed overall. The animated opening is a decent nod to source material and depicts a horrifying origin story that leaves a lump in your throat. Also, the overall premise isn’t half-bad and there are some gruesome kills that show the film isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty. Yet, none of this is enough to make Blood and Honey a remotely entertaining watch.
Aside from Pooh and Piglet being around, the film doesn’t do enough to take full advantage of the potential of its source material. It’s a shame that none of Pooh’s other friends are seen in the film, other than Rabbit and Owl just getting a mere mention and taking away their voices really only makes these characters feel present as face value. It would’ve been hilarious to hear Pooh and Piglet’s voices deliver some funny lines before kills or at least have some good interactions. With them being silent killers, they display no real personality, and it just feels like you’re watching guys in costume rather than Pooh and Piglet really being killers.
The characters are incredibly thin and act like ridiculous tropes or just plain idiots throughout their time on-screen. The performances don’t have much energy to them and it makes you literally not care about whether or not anyone lives. The film and performances also take itself too seriously and it really feels like Blood and Honey is missing some good over-the-top elements to make light of its ridiculousness. The story is equally as thin with it simply just weaving together a makeshift narrative in-between kills to get by rather than create something engaging. Blood and Honey is honestly very boring because there isn’t much to it and even the kills are marred by the lack of energy.
While it’s nice to see creative and brutal kills on-screen, they’re just nasty for the sake of being nasty. It constantly feels like the film is trying its hardest to shock you with every awful thing that Pooh and Piglet do, but it barely even works in keeping viewers interested. At times, the film stretches its goriness to the point where it totally loses its effect and impact. At some point, Pooh and Piglet’s brutal nature just becomes bland and gross, and the awful-looking visual effects for the blood spurts reflects the film’s low budget in a bad way.
Sure, Blood and Honey definitely turns Winnie-the-Pooh into a harrowing and horrifying killer, but does nothing special with it. Outside of a couple interesting elements, it’s just a bad slasher that lacks consistent fun or a decent creative effort to make this wild adaptation into something memorable.
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