Honeymoon (Blu-ray Review)

HoneymoonWriter Leigh Janiak makes her directorial debut with Honeymoon.  Per the film’s interviews, she found herself inspired and felt she could be able to do big moments on even the lowest of budgets having just viewed the film Monsters.  She even got to hand pick one of her cast members, Rose Leslie, because she was such a big fan of hers on Game Of Thrones.  The film shot in 2013 and debuted last year at the South By Southwest film festival.  The film received plenty of positive acclaim and got a small release in theaters last September.  It was a film I marked that I wanted to see once I heard about it, but honestly it escaped my mind until this Blu-ray was announced.  Sometimes it just sort of works that way, I suppose, but I got to see it and here’s my review.

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Bea and Paul are newlyweds happily getting away to a cabin in a secluded forest for their honeymoon that Bea used to stay at when she was a kid.  After an uncomfortable run-in with a childhood friend and Bea being found out in the woods in the middle of the night unclothed, things get strange.  Paul becomes very suspicious as Bea begins to act weird, distant and almost as if she’s not quite her.  What has happened to Bea, and what is going on in this little wooded area?

There was a lot of buzz surrounding this one following South By Southwest, so it definitely had my interest.  I also like Rose Leslie a lot on Game Of Thrones, so it would be intriguing to see her completely removed from that element.  Honeymoon turns out to be solid modern entry into low budget horror, but nothing I’d really think you need to jump out and get to see.  In fact, its one of those movies that makes me want to recommend other movies it reminded me of to people rather than feeling strongly about recommending the movie itself.

Speaking of that, you may not think it from glancing, but the case for the Blu-ray contains what I found to be a complete spoiler on it.  You wouldn’t think a critic quote could do such a thing, or that the art director would allow it, but I don’t think the people really paid attention what it was the quote was saying.  When you’re saying the movie is like a modern “X movie” and “Y movie”, you have sort of shown me the film’s hand before I even touch the disc.  And then it turns out the crux of the movie and its twists are pretty much ribbed from said movies, it sort of makes for a bit of a more bored watch than it could have been had you just put a quote that says “Fantastic!  Greatest horror film ever!” on the box.

It’s a nice super low budget small horror movie that I do enjoy seeing.  And there were some interesting and groovy nasty moments to accompany the film.  Rose Leslie and her co-star Harry Treadaway give some pretty passionate and at times intense performances.  The film does an outstanding job of setting up these two characters and getting us in on their relationship as well as buying into it.  As for director Leigh Janiak, I definitely am interested to see where she goes next.  Honeymoon is a solid film, and I hope younger, less film history-knowledged audiences take a gander at it, because it does have plenty to offer even if I kind knew how the book was going to turn its pages.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: This is a rather nice looking, plentifully detailed transfer.  Surfaces and clothing texture detail all comes through quite nicely.  The environment (trees, leaves, dirt paths, etc) all comes across as very good and natural looking.

Black Levels: Blacks are rich and inky.  Some crushing or detail is hidden a bit, but I think that comes more from the film’s lighting than the transfer.

Color Reproduction: Colors are strong, but a bit natural.  The film doesn’t feature a lot of vibrant coloring, but reds tend to stick out and some of the color on the clothing pops a bit.

Flesh Tones: Skin is consistent and natural.  Detail is high as you can make out stubble and freckles.  The makeup work toward the film’s finish translates terrifically too.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean.

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics:  This is a pretty solid 5.1 track.  Its not going to blow anyone away, but it helps to enhance and display this little film very nicely.

Low Frequency Extension:  Not a whole lot of work being done (not a lot to call for it), but there are some “jump” type moments where the sub is effective.

Surround Sound Presentation: Mostly ambient noise from the rear speakers.  Some good movement work from the front three speakers and accurate placement to action on screen.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Voices are crisp, clear and very audible.

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Interview With Actors Rose Leslie And Harry Treadaway (HD, 9:04) – From press junket, the actors talk about their love of the script and working together on a short low budget shoot.

Interview With Director Leigh Janiak (HD, 7:28) – The director’s interview from the same press junket.  She talks about getting this off the ground, casting and working with the actors.

The Worm Behind The Scenes (HD, 1:46) – An outtake with Rose Leslie being squeamish about picking up a live worm.

Canoe Behind The Scenes (HD, 2:33) – An outtake of the two leads canoeing around the lake and splashing each other.

AXS TV: A Look At Honeymoon (HD, 2:23) – A trailer with clips from the press junket interviews mixed in.

Festival Trailer Extended Version (HD, 1:55)

Festival Teaser Trailer (HD, 1:03)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:23)

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Honeymoon is a really solid little horror thriller, boasted by a focus on character (also having less of them) with strong performances by its leads.  Unfortunately for me, I noticed the big sized print of a critic quote on the box and recognized where this film was leading me too early because of that.  But, it’s a solid film and I’m interested to see Leigh Janiak direct another film.  This Blu-ray is equally solid, featuring good audio and video as well as some nice interviews with the cast and director.  I’d say its definitely worth your rental time or a purchase its at a satisfying low price.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

3 Responses to “Honeymoon (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    You make me want to see this one!

  2. Brandon Peters


    I didn’t exactly give it a glowing review

  3. Brian White

    Rose Leslie!