As we are all celebrating love right with Valentine’s day as cards and flowers fly everywhere from Croydon to Kenya, spare a thought for the hapless couple in Honeymoon who decide to take their post wedding break at a cabin in the woods. What were they thinking? This is the modern horror world, nothing ever goes right if you go to a cabin in the woods. They even made a film called Cabin in the Woods, just so you’d know.
The couple in question are Rose Leslie (The-You-know-nothing-Jon-Snow girl from Game of Thrones) and Harry Treadaway (Victor Frankenstein in Penny Dreadful and the only decent thing in Cockneys Verses Zombies). Despite being British they are both playing newly wed Americans, and occasionally their accents do sound a little bit off but I think this something only British people notice because we like to knock down our successful exports. Other than that these two actors really make Honeymoon a very watchable, if slight, little picture.
The early part of the story when they first arrive at the cabin really captures the truth of a young couple deeply lost in each other’s love. They follow each other around the cabin as if attached by an invisible elastic band. Leslie is constantly climbing on Treadaway, he picks her up and carrys her about as if he’s one the star prize at a shooting gallery. Their lips are locked together, often throughout their banal conversations. Its very sweet and intimate, you almost feel like an unwelcome voyer watching the new depths of their marraige cement itself. It helps that Leslie and Treadaway are absolutely fantastic here. They seem so relaxed with each other that you feel that they have to be a real life couple. They’re not though, just good actors.
Of course, like all great loves, things this good cannot last. Good god, that’s cynical of me. Well we get about twenty minutes in and the rot starts. In the middle of the night, after a brief incident I won’t descibe here, Treadaway finds Leslie standing naked in the middle of the forest, apparently having slept walked there. After that Leslie’s behaviour becomes more and more mysterious, and things get worse from there. Not as far as the film is concerned, that stays fairly consistant, I mean their situation gets worse. And pretty gross too.
The trouble is with the mystery of what is happening, which begins during that previously undescribed incident. The moment it happens you go “oh, its such and such” and then it turns out it is just that, so there isn’t really much mystery at all. It doesn’t help that said mystery is dragged out with Treadaway trying to get the bottom of it, and being thwarted by Leslie at every turn. The upshoot of this is that as he gets annoyed by not knowing what is going on,and so do we the audience. Then when the mystery is finally revealed its just what we thought it was so is a bit of a let down all round.
However, sometimes when you watch a film set in a cabin in the woods you just have to accept that you are not going to be involved with any hugely original bit of story telling and just have to go with how the story is told instead. So what we do have here is almost solely a two-hander with a couple of terrific young actors. Between them and the tight direction we do have a pretty good little movie. There are some very tense moments wandering around the woods, and one really disgusting scene which would put one of my friends off fingering for the rest of his life.
And whilst the story is no great shakes, the relationship between Leslie and Treadaway does act like a whole marraige, from the beautiful start to the terrible breakdown, in microcosm. When Leslie starts to keep things hidden from her husband it is a perfect example of how a lack of communication can destroy a relationship.
I did find that after getting to know this sweet couple so well at the beginning it was a shame that the ending didn’t quite put across the emotional whallop it was trying to do: the climax was too involved in explaining the story to successfully put across the heartbreak between these two characters. It is there but is lost abit in all the exposition and horror. And that’s a pity because the real horror of this film is not what secrets are out there in the dark woods but what is kept hidden inside yourself from the person you are supposed to love.