Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey takes a cherished childhood tale and transforms it into a slasher flick that is as controversial as it is bizarre. First time feature director Rhys Waterfield and his team faced backlash and even death threats from the Winnie the Pooh fan community when they first announced their plans to turn the beloved A. A. Milne classic into a horror flick. The beloved book entered the public domain in the USA in 2022, providing the perfect opportunity for Waterfield to unleash his twisted vision upon it.
The film begins with a sketch animation, summarizing the heartwarming relationship between Christopher Robin and the animals of the Hundred Acre Wood. But be warned, after the cutie cute boy goes off to college, the plot takes an unexpected turn. In this C-list horror rendition, the animals turn on each other, with Eeyore meeting a gruesome (and cannibalistic) end. Their motivation? Well, they are staarviing! But most importantly, they feel abandoned. Revenge on Christopher Robin for leaving them behind, turn them back into speechless and wild creatures.
As the story unfolds, we follow Christopher Robin, who decided to revisit the woods five years after departing from his furry friends. He brings along his fiancée, Mary, in what should be a nostalgic reunion. Bad idea, CR! Things escalate rapidly. By the ninth minute, CR and Mary are in a state of sheer terror, hiding in an old trailer, sensing that something is terribly awry in the once-peaceful campsite. However, the film’s script fails to capitalize on its potential. It shoots all its bullets early on and relies solely on the concept of “CR goes to college, and the animals go f-ing crazy.”
Soon we are introduced to a new protagonist, Maria, who seeks refuge and relaxation in the woods following her therapist’s advice. (Bad idea, Maria!) As it is unveiled, she had been through a traumatic experience with a stalker breaking into her home. Little does she know, this seemingly idyllic escape will take a nightmarish turn, thanks to the deranged Piglet and Winnie-the-Pooh. You wonder where the rest of the famous gang is? Probably, on a last minute holiday in Morocco or eaten up by each other. Aside from the lame joke, apparently Tigger and his friends got stuck in „Copyright Land” as Disney refused to assist the production.
Anyways, the film’s storyline runs in two narratives, with one focusing on the „adventures” of Maria and her girlfriends in the Airbnb-ed cottage while the other follows Christopher Robin’s torment at the hands of Winnie-the-Pooh. While the concept had the potential to explore the original story’s subtext and the afterlife of its characters, it remains amateurish and plotless, lacking the respect for the Milne classic.
The music, particularly the use of religious chants, is over the top, and the rubber masks are so laughably bad that they become comical. In a movie like this, a bit of humor could have gone a long way, but unfortunately, the film takes itself far too seriously. Even though the performances are more horrifying than the script itself, some of the directing and visuals are suprisingly good. Interesting enough, principle photography wrapped in 8 days.
Despite its many shortcomings, “Blood and Honey” appears to have struck a chord with many viewers, and the filmmakers have already shot a sequel with a significantly higher budget (Oh, Lord save us). The first installment, reportedly made on a $100,000 budget, miraculously transformed into a $5,000,000 movie. The producers and filmmakers have undoubtedly leveraged the popularity and brand recognition of Winnie-the-Pooh to draw in audiences (honorable mention: Greta Gerwig’s Barbie). Waterfield and his team took the well-known source material and flipped the genre, transforming a family-friendly animation into a blood-soaked trash horror. It is a marketing strategy that’s as audacious as it is effective. The British filmmaker has plans to tackle the stories of Peter Pan, the Teletubbies, and Bambi in a similar vein. As Waterfield said in an interview he set out to “ruin childhood memories” (Oh, Lord save us.)
In the end, “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” is a trash horror, a strange mixture of childhood nostalgia and gory thrills. This film proves that in the world of cinema, even negative publicity can turn into financial success. No doubt, if there is such a high demand for movies like this, quality will be the least important item on some filmmaker’s list of priorities.
You can (but probably you should not) watch Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey on Amazon, Google Play, AppleTV, VUDU and YouTube.
~ by Dora Endre ~