“AFTER THE CEREMONY COMES THE RITUAL.”
Category: Sci-Fi, Viral
Directed by: Leigh Janiak
Written by: Leigh Janiak, Phil Graziadei
Starring: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway
Music: Heather McIntosh
Cinematography: Kyle Klutz
Newlyweds Paul (Treadaway) and Bea (Leslie) head to her family’s cabin for their honeymoon. Other than a strange encounter with Bea’s childhood friend, all is well until Paul finds his wife in the middle of the woods, naked and confused, after apparently sleepwalking. Bea’s behavior becomes increasingly strange as Paul struggles to wrap his head around what is happening.
Janiak’s movie takes a slow burning, intimate approach; a majority of the focus is on the two leads, they’re relationship and the tension that builds between them as the film progresses. They start out as a repulsively loving couple, and then Bea begins slowly withdrawing from Paul after her sleepwalking bout. I almost prefer the latter, they are too corny for me. Despite this, and Treadaway’s less-than-convincing American accent, they’re chemistry seems fluid and Janiak does a great job of slowly building up suspense and confusion. The film moves in a listless manner throughout, never quite picking up pace, even in the end; relying more on atmosphere than anything else. Honeymoon could be lumped in the venereal horror sub-genre that seems to be popping up as of late, with films like Thanatamorphose, Contracted, and Starry Eyes, although this feature is less of an allegory for STIs than dealing with a certain area of the body. The special effects are used conservatively and effectively. While not a gore-fest, the bloody scenes will surely make some cringe, especially the female demographic.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending. It was somewhat ambiguous, but what I did gather from it wasn’t what I was expecting and I felt went against the subtly of the rest of the film. While not a bad movie, nothing about it stands above the rest of the numerous features in the indie film industry. It’s certainly an interesting watch for fans of slow brooding, subdued horror.