The Honeymoon Phase

12/08/2020 06:29

Film: The Honeymoon Phase

Year: 2019

Director: Phillip G. Carroll Jr.

Writer: Phillip G. Carroll Jr.

Starring: Chloe Carroll, Jim Schubin and Tara Westwood



This was a movie that I heard about when the writer/director reached out to me about reviewing. I’m always up for reviewing independent films, especially with trying to fill out my top horror films list for that year. This does fall as a 2020 release due to only playing a festival in 2019 as well. The synopsis here is struggling young lovers, Tom (Jim Schubin) and Eve (Chloe Carroll), must endure a 30-day scientific experiment. Room, board, $50,000 and a month alone together in research facility housing, what could possibly go wrong?

We start this off with Tom as he’s talking to a camera. This is interesting as he’s upset as it appears he lost his wife on their wedding night. The movie then shifts us to seeing a cityscape that is mirroring itself. They come together as they approach a large building.

Our couple of Tom and Eve meets with the director of this project, François Chau. He is trying to decide if they’re right for the experiment. Eve is working to become a US citizen and Tom is a struggling author. He’s been hit with writer’s block, but Eve is supportive. Their goal is for him to make it and her to do the covers as well as promotional material. This experiment pays them $50,000 as the synopsis states and that could really help. They are a little bit nervous about what they’re going into so they come up with a safe word of 9/23.

They wake up in an amazing house with futuristic clothing on. Over the breast of the shirt is their name with a barcode. They’re also not the only couple doing this, but they’re separated into their own houses as couples. Since I realize I haven’t went into what the goal is here, it is to see the honeymoon phase of the relationship can last forever. There are a lot of divorces and the director wants to see if that can be altered by looking at data. To keep record, a handler is assigned to them, she is Tara Westwood.

Things don’t go as planned though. Eve gets upset with Tom that he doesn’t seem to want to write. He claims that it is writer’s block. He is also quite obsessed spending all of this time with her and to start a family. He thinks they should have a child. Eve doesn’t think that is feasible since they have no way of supporting this idea. They also aren’t married. Not that it necessarily matters, but their lives are in flux.

It gets even darker when Eve starts to suspect there’s something off about Tom. He doesn’t kiss her as he used to do. There are some memories that don’t really match up, including that he doesn’t remember their safe word. It doesn’t help when the handler warns her about Tom. The question then becomes, she is being paranoid or is there something else going on here?

That’s where I want to leave this recap of the movie as that gets you up to speed without going into spoilers. What is interesting is that I caught a line in another review that this movie is coming out the same year as Viviarium, as they are following similar stories, but of course giving it to us in different ways. I do agree here about the similarities and that it is interesting that they’re getting released in the same year.

What is intriguing for this movie is the relationship that we have here. Both sides are bringing their issues to the table. Eve really wants to be with Tom. Both are worried this experiment could hurt their relationship for good reason. Being stuck with someone for 30 days without contact with anyone else could legitimately make or break a relationship. It is interesting is that I saw this after the pandemic started and I think many people have. For me, I moved in with Jaime during this time so even though it isn’t the same, there are parallels.

I’ve heard many people say you truly don’t know someone until you go on a trip with them or you spend large amount of time with someone. Without going into too much detail, Jamie and I tend to bicker the longer we spend time together. I couldn’t imagine only spending time with her for 30 days. That is bit much, but it is interesting though for this experiment. I like the idea of Eve descending into madness from this. She thinks that Tom is acting differently. I think an issue here though; we don’t necessarily get that baseline for us to see that completely. The handler revealing little things definitely helps there. I don’t want to say this is a misstep, because it isn’t. The film seems to be intentionally showing us it this way so we think Eve could potentially be crazy.

For me though, I feel this movie loses some momentum as it goes on. I liked the characters that we’re given, their issues and getting into the experiment. I even like the steady change that comes over them with little things that starts the madness. The problem that I take from the movie though I lose interest after the stuff with Christmas and what follows after that. The ultimate reveal at the end really didn’t make a lot of sense to me. The reveal at the end was fine, but I wasn’t along anymore for it to change my mind.

I want to shift this over to the acting here. I did like Carroll in this main role we get her in. It took me a bit to realize her accent, which I love. After figuring that out and her dynamic of not being a citizen becomes interesting for me. From my knowledge, if she gets married to Tom, she gains citizenship. Having a child would help as well. I love her practicality though to their situation and questioning Tom about the changes he wants to make for a family. Schubin was fine, but I feel there was some overacting on his part. There were a times where I just didn’t care for his performance. I will say in his defense, he is taking on a difficult character in having to show the duality. Westwood, Chau and the rest of the cast I thought was fine in rounding this out for what was needed.

The last thing I really want to go into would be the effects. The opening credits and the look of room for the interview with Tom worked for me. I thought the holograms looked solid and the futuristic place they are staying. I’d even say the blood we get looks good for the most part. Where it doesn’t is with the CGI there. We get some blood spray that looked like it was done with computers. I noticed that and I wasn’t a fan. Aside from that, I’d say the cinematography was good as well.

So now with that said, I do think there are some really good aspects to this movie. The characters bring some real worries and wants to a situation that really makes things worse. I like the isolated feel that we get where they are ‘trapped’. The acting is on the positive side for the most part. If I did have issues is that it does lose me as things get revealed to the point where the ending didn’t have too much on an impact. There is also some CGI that doesn’t really hold up for me either. I still am positive side of this movie and find it to be over average for me. It is still quite interesting and would recommend giving it a viewing if these things sound interesting.


My Rating: 6 out of 10