The film begins with Paul and his new spouse, Bea, played by Rose Leslie (“you naw noffin’ Jon Snore”) speaking directly to camera, blissfully in love, and looking forward to a break away where they can wallow in one another’s brilliance. However one night when Bea sleepwalks into the forest, upon her return she has changed, subtly at first, but as time progresses her altered sensibilities are glaringly patent, leaving Paul to question what exactly took place on that fateful night.
Honeymoon thrives in its naturalistic set up, in what is effectively a gentle, Like Crazy-esque romantic flick that revels in the mundane. Yet all Janiak is doing is lulling you into a false sense of security, and thus enhancing the impact of the more tumultuous elements of the latter stages. However given the filmmaker’s inclination for a pensive, slow-burning build up, and the intricate focus on normality, such a structure lends itself to an epic finale, where everything builds up to what should be a momentous conclusion – and yet sadly we’re left wanting in that regard, with an underwhelming closing of events.
It’s still intriguing to see such a naturalistic take on possession, using very commonplace, human traits as a means of driving this narrative. What is required to make this work is strong performances, and that’s certainly the case where Treadaway and Leslie are concerned, though while their chemistry is palpable, they never seem fully at ease embodying American characters. Their accents are not perfect, and any minor deviation away from real life takes us out of the moment in these early scenes. It’s an odd decision too for neither of these performers to speak in their native voice, as their nationalities have little influence over proceedings.
Nonetheless, Honeymoon is very simplistic, easy to indulge in fun, even if it is somewhat throwaway and forgettable. Yet the word fun doesn’t seem to be exactly what Janiak is after, as you can’t help but feel the desired response was to be somewhat more disquieting. But that’s not the case at all, as this film is without any true horror nor suspense, which proves to be ultimately detrimental to an otherwise worthy, creative endeavour.