Thursday 23 March 2023

Winnie The Pooh: Blood And Honey (2023)

Sit down and strap in, this isn't going to be pretty. Winnie The Pooh: Blood And Honey is that rare thing, a film so consistently awful, and horribly put together, that I have to work much harder to avoid writing a review that amounts to nothing more than a list of choice insults.

Starting with a crude, but effective, bit of animation, viewers are told the tale of Christopher Robin making friends with Winnie The Pooh, Piglet, and co. But Christopher Robin leaves. He is off to become an educated man. That leaves Pooh and friends alone, hungry, and ready to revert to animalistic savagery. Having dived headlong into insanity, there's no way back, and even the return of the grown-up Christopher Robin (Nikolai Leon) cannot undo what has happened. Thankfully, there are also a number of young women for the gang to prey upon whenever they tire of torturing their ex-BFF.

Written and directed by Rhys Frake-Waterfield, who has a few film credits to his name already (none of them sounding great, but none sounding quite as bad as this), it's hard to think of any one way in which Winnie The Pooh: Blood And Honey could be a more inexorably awful viewing experience. One or two decent bits of gore aside, this is boring, visually murky, and seems to have been made by someone who believes that the slasher movie peaked in 1981 (or thereabouts). Maybe Frake-Waterfield was trying to make something slyly amusing and reminiscent of the unsophisticated fare that flooded the slasher movie market five decades ago, but I suspect that he just figured he could make a decent payday, and get his film some notoriety, by making use of characters that have fallen into the public domain and throwing around splashes of bloodshed and gratuitous nudity.

Maybe having some better cast members would have helped, but there isn't anyone here who can rise above the material. Which is understandable, considering how bad the material is, but still a shame. I won't list the names of everyone involved, but Leon is bloody awful as Christopher Robin (hindered by the fact that he is left to repeat the same pleading line over and over when he sees how murderous his old friends have become), Craig David Dowsett at least gets to hide behind the Winnie The Pooh mask, because Winnie and co. are played by people wearing masks, and Maria Taylor could have been a decent potential final girl if the script had helped viewers to care about her fate. I liked both Natasha Tosini and May Kelly, but that was nothing to do with the writing or direction. I just happened to like both of those actresses whenever they were onscreen.

I'm really not sure if we should even class this as a film. It's a childish bit of nastiness that does nothing interesting, or cinematic, with the idea. Want to work with this idea in a way that doesn't seem completely lazy and awful? Go for the more amusing and ambiguous approach of Christopher Robin being the potential killer, letting viewers wonder if his animal friends are real or imaginary. There. The film is already 50% better, and I just thought of that right now. My personal minimal effort far exceeds the effort of Frake-Waterfield (although, yes, he got his film made and I am just here, typing words out to criticise and deride it).

Skip this. It's not worth your time. Just wait until I come up with my own tale of Winnie The Pooh and friends planning a series of bank robberies when The Hundred Acre Wood is put up for sale. Hopefully hitting a cinema some time in 2024, it's Winnie The Pooh: Show Me The Honey.


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