Glasgow Film Festival’s FrightFest hosted the U.K. theatrical premiere of Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. Whether this was an honour or otherwise is up for debate. The 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes gives some idea of what side of the debate is winning.
Of all the childhood icons to have a dark, twisted story, Winnie the Pooh is perhaps the last to come to mind. Many fables and fairy-tales originated in darkness and horror, created by the likes of the Brothers Grimm. Winnie the Pooh isn’t one of those stories, however. The beloved Pooh bear is just a big yellow companion who loves his honeypots and his friends: right?
Wrong. In this retelling of the children’s classic, Christopher Robin leaves the animals in 100 Acre Woods, resulting in perhaps the worst case of abandonment issues ever recorded.
Upon their neglection, Pooh bear and Piglet did not cry. They did not search for moral lessons, typical in children’s stories. They did not start journaling, nor did they develop avoidant attachment styles. Instead, they suffered perhaps more violent symptoms of neglect.
To say it plainly, the duo developed a skill for murder. And boy, are they good at it.
The animals of 100 Acre Wood were entirely dependent on Christopher Robin for not only socialisation, but for food. This means that when the boy leaves, the animals start to get a little peckish. And a little crazy. And a little crazy from the peckish-ness.
The insanity and starvation set in, meaning any humanity Christopher Robin taught them has disappeared. They lose their voices, reverting back to their animalistic nature to survive. They are ruthless and erratic, resorting to anything to survive. Anything. Rest in peace, Eeyore.
Years later, when Pooh and Piglet are lost to their madness, Christopher Robin decides to return to visit his childhood home. He soon comes to find things aren’t how he left them. Oh, bother.
The story then goes on to introduce us to Maria (Maria Taylor), the stereotypical horror girl. Her and her girl-friends have organised a cabin holiday in a particular wood in order to “destress”. This being a horror movie means their trips is anything but stress-free. What ensues is a series of vivid murders mixed in with jibes at low-budget horror movie tropes.
Both of these things are done well in the movie. Unfortunately, that’s about all it’s good at.
How was it?
Created from a joke among friends and a £100,000 budget, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is… fine.
It was a little busy, narratively speaking. Committing to being a Winnie the Pooh horror film with spoof elements attacking low-budget horror movies would have been brilliant. However, the spoof elements became too overwhelming. They distracted from the reason everyone is watching this movie. The audience want to see Winnie the Pooh on a murder spree, not a parody of low-budget horrors.
In its defence, the low-budget horror movie jokes were honestly funny. They just distracted from the Blood and Honey storyline. The messiness of the characterisation was also distracting. A lot of things were just distracting.
Luckily, the epicly horrific gore recaptured the audience’s attention. The setting of 100 Acre Woods and the costuming of Pooh and Piglet were also excellently low-budget and fun.
The best elements of the movie were the elements that worked with the notion of a cheap Winnie the Pooh horror movie. That’s what made the movie somewhat enjoyable.
Is it funny? Yes. Is the gore good? Yes. Is it a ‘good’ movie? No.
Should you watch it? If you want to.
If you’re seeing this film, don’t take it seriously. Laugh at it or with it, just don’t scratch an inch below the surface. Critical brains need switching off for this movie. Take Blood and Honey for what it is, and you should enjoy it. Mostly.
Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is out now in UK theatres.
Feature Image Credit: Jagged Edge Productions