This interesting sci-fi horror mystery is let down by a mediocre Blu-ray
Honeymoon Film Review
Ah, newly wedded bliss, a discreet woodland retreat and a nearby lake – what could go wrong?The premise of Honeymoon is very simply: Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) are very newlyweds but know each other very intimately. One night, while on their honeymoon in a secluded cabin by a lake, Bea is discovered naked and disorientated in the woods and even though she claims she is fine, over the next few days her behaviour becomes distant and strange. A confrontation with her husband is inevitable – the revelation of which neither can believe nor understand. Anyone who has seen a horror film will understand the premise and/or location and the way first time director Leigh Janiak, paces, lights and directs the action, leaves no doubt where the film is heading.This is by no means a criticism, indeed I found it quite refreshing with its ‘stripped to the bone’ filming style. The chemistry between the two leads is amazing, they behave like newlyweds (unable to keep away from each other) and their dialogue is always natural and believable. Their actions always have consequence and are always justified. In fact there is little to fault with the film, it rattles along, is mysterious enough to intrigue and I just love the dark outcome. Some look at it as a comment on relationships and how far they go; personally I just see it as a great excuse for sci-fi horror mystery.
Blu-ray Picture QualityThe disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 1.85:1 1080p transfer using the AVC codec and is Region locked to B.
Detail is pretty good throughout, skin texture remains strong, clothing, what little there is, has visible weave and both fore- and back-grounds hold good edges. The foliage of the forest surrounding the hut is good, establishing landscape shots of the lake have a decent enough panorama, while the cabin itself exhibits good wood grain and the general clutter is well defined.
Establishing landscape shots of the lake have a decent enough panorama
Colour is a bit of a let-down; there isn’t the depth of blockbusters, nor that of expensive TV shows (Boardwalk Empire, for example) so it appears washed out. This isn't strictly true, there are a couple of factors, most noticeably the brightness and contrast setting, which impact greatly on colour, mentioned below. But also the picture doesn’t look to have had any digital grading, thus what we see is ‘natural’ colouring, so Rose Leslie is very pale (because she naturally is) while Harry Treadaway has a deeper flesh tone. The primaries are fine, green probably coming off the best, though red is quite vibrant, especially blood.
Most of the picture issues are with the contrast and brightness settings which are both too low and too high respectively; this effectively means that there are no true blacks anywhere in the picture; so it appears faded and flat, especially in dark scenes where shadow detail is a premium at the expense of mood. So the picture has neither punch nor depth and it adversely affects the colour, as mentioned above. Daytime scenes show the most promise, especially those set on, or near, the lake in the bright sunshine where the camera is forced to expand its inherent dynamic range giving a very passable picture. But once the lights go down it is back to drab greys everywhere.
Digitally there are no compression problems, nor is there any edge enhancement, though banding is occasionally evident. The picture not a total loss, it’s passable, but for a horror film you really need deep black and shadows, which is doesn’t have, but the rest make of the picture make up is ‘OK’.
Blu-ray Sound QualityOnly the one track to choose: English dts-HD MA 5.1 surround. There are some nice ambient effects during this track, especially during the night scenes really contributing to the eerie feel of the piece; creaks, twigs snapping, wind etc. Bass too is very well realised, there are some terrific rumblings for the sub which belie the zero-budget film making. Dialogue is clear and precise, dominated by the frontal array and sounds nice and natural throughout. There is also a good sense of the ‘outdoors’ as our intrepid couple venture into the woods and on to the lake with the track picking up on every nuance giving a terrific feel to the sound. I think I’d have liked a little more ‘creepy surround effects’ especially at night searching the woods, but what we do have is very effective none-the-less. Never going to win awards, the sound scape is nevertheless well realised and aids the visuals well.
Blu-ray ExtrasBehind the Scenes – More accurately ‘outtakes’ contains two scenes: one with Leslie being unable to pick up a worm as it’s ‘icky’ (she is somewhat different in real life than her Game of Thrones character!), the other with the couple falling out of their boat into the lake.
Honeymoon Blu-ray VerdictHoneymoon is first time director Leigh Janiak’s comment on relationships or an excuse for sci-fi horror mystery; either way the film is easy watching and contains enough to keep you entertained. Newlyweds Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) secluded cabin honeymoon is interrupted when Bea is found naked and disorientated wandering in the woods – from there the couple’s relationship runs into serious trouble while they confront who they are while trying to discover what exactly happened and by whom. Even by following typical horror beats the film is quite refreshing in a ‘stripped to the bone’ type style.
Even by following typical horror beats the film is quite refreshing in a ‘stripped to the bone’ type style
The Blu-ray from Arrow is fairly basic, the picture is the biggest let down by having no real blacks which impacts the colours and the image depth, though the sound is very good and goes a little way to making up the disc. Extras are practically non-existent but enjoyable in a voyeuristic way, though fair far less when compared to the American release (boo!). In all, for the money, it’s a knock off hour and a half.
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