It’s rare to bump into a solid horror story in the same way it’s hard to stumble across a really good cafe. “Honeymoon,” by first-time director Leigh Janiak, is just that find. It’s atmospheric and beautifully shot, with an ambivalent ending that leaves you wanting more.
Janiak worked for years as a producer’s assistant on various films before tackling this feature, and “Honeymoon” comes across as strangely mature and serene, as if it doesn’t care whether it’s scary or not. But make no mistake, the fright factor is turned up to the max from start to finish.
The premise is simple and familiar. A newlywed couple, Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway), decide to spend their honeymoon in Paul’s family cottage, tucked away in a remote forest. They’re happy and excited — two kids in love. But later that night, Paul wakes to find his wife is missing. He stumbles out to the woods and discovers her naked and shivering. She returns home, but after that incident she’s a changed woman. At one point, Paul finds her in the bathroom, rehearsing excuses for not having sex.
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What culminates in “Honeymoon” is the primal fear that runs like an undercurrent through the early stages of marriage: What if your spouse secretly hates you or wants to harm you? Shivers.
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