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‘Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey’ review: This ain’t your Disney childhood Pooh bear

Your favorite honey-loving bear is angry, so be afraid, I think?

Fathom Events

The horror genre is a vast platform where creativity knows no bounds. You can have a minuscule budget and a concoction of ideas and make it work – even going as far as making Winnie the Pooh a prototypical slasher villain akin to Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees. But wait, Winnie the Pooh? The small bear that lives in a tree, eats a plentiful amount of honey, and pals around with a goofy tiger and pig. That bear? Well, not in the cuddly Disney sense. The copyright on A.A. Milne’s 1926 book, “Winnie-the-Pooh” became public domain earlier this year, meaning certain characters like Christopher Robin, Pooh, and Piget could all be inserted into the twisted playground of writer/director/editor Rhys Frake-Waterfield.

Thus, we have Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey, which can also double as Horror Trope: The Film. Scenes that might serve to decipher character motivations or build tension are visual checklists of things that horror characters should not do. If you have a weapon when a creepy 6-foot bear is stalking you, you should probably use it. If you get lost looking for your friends, you should probably not go into a place where you are the lone person. Seemingly, Blood and Honey not only infuses all of these scenarios, but the film also makes them stretch out too long as where they become unintentionally funny. (or maybe intentionally?)

So, what in the world could make Winnie and Piglet homicidal maniacs? In the opening minutes of Blood and Honey, an animated explainer does just that. In the land of 100 Acre Wood, a young Christopher Robin comes across his soon-to-be creature friends, and for years, they hung out and ate food together. Then eventually, Christopher got older and had to go away to college (because you got to make money) and stopped coming around. As that sweet co-dependency faded, Pooh, Piglet, and their friends got hungry – which meant a horrific fate for ole Eeyore and a venture into the animals' feral sides. When he gets older, Christopher (Nikolai Leon) brings his wife Mary (Paula Coiz) back to the woods to see how his furry friends have progressed – well, not good. They attack them both and take Christopher hostage.

This brings us to the second facet of the story: the personifications of every horror character stereotype. A couple of traumatic experiences have shaken Maria (Maria Taylor) regarding male stalkers at her home, so she and her friends decide to spend a weekend at a spacy cottage. As far as characterization is concerned, Maria is probably the most fleshed out. Otherwise, her friends fit the bill of the “Instagram model,” a couple on the rocks trying to get their fire back, and the overly cautious and somewhat nerdy friend.

After those character shells are somewhat established, the film goes into every imaginable slasher layout. Why are Pooh and Piglet six feet tall and walk at the speed of the Scissorman in the Clock Tower video game series? Where did the sledgehammer and metal chains weapons come from? How can Pooh summon bees as scouting agents and somewhat attackers? Blood and Honey elects to lead you blindly through its marsh of unfathomable with reckless abandon. Even when the film tries to establish some emotional brevity (Christopher pleads to Pooh to turn back from his murderous ways), it comes off as very unconvincing and humorous. Chase scenes result in the camera being so disorienting, the audience might be thankful the protagonist gets caught.

Other films have made homages to classic horror, like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, while still establishing some originally. Blood and Honey feels like a fairy tale walked into Wrong Turn and put cartoon masks over the heads of the antagonists. By the fourth close-up shot of Pooh’s face seemingly smothered and drooling honey, it might occur to you that something is very wrong. For an hour and twenty minutes, you’ll realize that your childhood is, in fact, safe and sound. There will be no looking for Winnie the Pooh under your bed or in your closet. Oh, bother.