honeymoon | leigh janiak | phil graziadei | rose leslie | harry treadaway | ben huber | alien | aliens | drama | fantasy | vacation | mystery | romance | sci-fi | thriller | united states | hanna brown | bob harrison | john lauterbach | peter leo
Director: Leigh Janiak
Writer: Phil Graziadei and Leigh Janiak
Starring: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway and Ben Huber
This was a movie that I’ll be honest, I didn’t know a lot coming in. I feel like I heard about this movie since I’m pretty sure Rose Leslie was cast on the heels of her Game of Thrones stint and Harry Treadaway from Penny Dreadful. Aside from that, I came in pretty blind and saw this listed as a solid movie to watch near Valentine’s Day. This was selected to be reviewed on Side Quest Podcast because of it. The synopsis here is a newlywed couple finds their lake-country honeymoon descend into chaos after Paul (Treadaway) finds Bea (Leslie) wandering and disoriented in the middle of the night.
We start this movie seeing a wedding video that was made by Bea and Paul. It is edited together with someone who is driving in a car. We can see they are newlyweds from the dragging of tin cans. This is a solid way to introduce us to this couple, how they met and how he proposed to her. We see that whoever is driving is going into Canada and they stop in front of a cabin in the woods. This is where the couple is going to spend their honeymoon. The cabin belongs to Bea’s family and she used to come here as a child.
They look to be very much in love from what we see. Bea gives the grand tour to Paul and the two then make love. There is an awkward scene the next morning where Paul makes a joke that doesn’t sit well with Bea. They talk it out, but it seems they’ve never discussed having children.
Something else we get to learn is that Paul is a city guy. They both live in New York City and have for some time, but Bea was a girl scout for 12 years and used to come up to the woods regularly during the summers. There are some things that he’s not able to do or just doesn’t know who to do. Some of this comes into play when the two walk to a nearby restaurant. It is an odd interaction with the one of the owners, Will (Ben Huber). It appears him and Bea has a history of spending time together during the summers. He’s quite agitated and things get worse when they meet his wife, Annie (Hanna Brown). There is something not quite right about her and there’s also something wrong with the electricity here.
There is something that is happening at night as well. That first night we see a beam of strong light come in through the window and humming noise. The next night, there is a surge of power that causes all the lights to turn on and sets off a bedside alarm. Paul had a plan to go fishing that morning to catch them dinner, but when he realizes it is too early, he goes back to bed. Bea is missing though. He ends up finding her in the woods, naked and something is off about her. The next morning, she doesn’t seem quite like herself and there is a wound on her inner thigh. This becomes a nightmare where Bea seems like the person Paul married, but there’s just something not quite right. The more he delves into this, the more agitated she becomes. Is Bea the person he married or has something really happened to her?
That is where I want to leave my recap as that expands on what the synopsis says without going into spoilers here. Where I want to start is stating that I think this movie is quite interesting with what we are getting here. My initial thought on the explanation ended up being right, but I like that the movie doesn’t play its hand too early with it though. There are some things that get introduced that made me question it and I think with how it is given, we get an interesting social commentary here.
What I want to delve into here is going to be the characters of Bea and Paul. I think it is quite strategic to show us this wedding video from the beginning, because it comes into play throughout this movie. I could connect here, because how Paul proposes is similar to my proposal to Jaime as I had a few different things in mind to make it romantic, but with the pandemic we are living in as well as with her indecisive nature, I had to improvise a few different things. Much like Paul, I regret nothing with it. To get back to this movie though, there are things that are revealed as to their unique story and would be unforgettable.
Going along with this, we are really working with our two main characters for the most part. I think that the performance from Leslie is really good here. We get an idea of her, but then after she’s found in the woods, there are subtle things that are different with her. Her performance is really good to sell it. Then her counterpart of Treadaway I also think does an excellent job. He’s picking up on little things that she is doing that are off, but for the most part, she is still herself. Will and Annie are there to create a bit of divide between them, while also pushing us closer to the truth. Huber and Brown were solid in what they do to push our characters to where they end up.
What I really like with this though is the idea that we don’t truly know someone and that marriage can change the dynamic of things. It would seem that this couple isn’t completely on the same page with what they want from this marriage, like they didn’t fully discuss things. This is odd to me, but I have a friend who was with someone in a relationship for a long time without discussing this until they were deep in the thick. I also like that the honeymoon phase for them is ending and it is showing how hard marriage is pretty quickly into it. They’re changed by it and they weren’t expecting that.
One last thing that I really want to go into with the story here is that I’m not upset with what the reveal is. Even though I did guess it early on, I like some subtle things that are thrown in here where it made me question it. Guessing things does tend to make me lower my rating, but for what they do here with it, I am forgiving. What I didn’t necessarily like was how anticlimactic the ending is. There are things leading up to it that are effect, but I feel that the impact at the end was just missing for me.
Next I think I should go to the effects. We don’t really get a lot of them to be honest and what they did use looked practical. I’m actually going to incorporate the sound design into this as well. We have this beam of light we see throughout and I love the humming sound that comes with it. There was something about it that made me uncomfortable. Going along with this, they do some great things in the end with Bea and Annie’s skin tone and eyes that looked great. There is also something at the climax that made me call out with how creepy it looked. I was impressed for sure. The sound design with listening to things Bea is saying is well done and Annie helps here as well with what she is saying. I would also say that the cinematography was well done and the rest of the soundtrack fit for what was needed.
In conclusion here, I think that this movie is really interesting with the commentary that it is giving us. It does well in letting us get to know the characters pretty early on and then showing us there is something off about them. Even though I guessed what the reveal was, I think the movie does well in throwing us things that could take us in a different direction. The performance from this duo really drives this movie with the rest of the cast pushing them to where they end up. I would say that the effects, cinematography and sound design where all good as well. If I did have an issue, I don’t think the ending worked as well as I would have liked personally. I still enjoyed this and would recommend giving it a viewing. For me, this is a good movie. I don’t necessarily know if everyone will agree, but it just worked for me.
My Rating: 8 out of 10