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Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey has to be seen to be believed

When I heard that  A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard’s original Winnie-the Pooh stories had entered the public domain and that a production company was going to make a horror movie from them I thought what I was hearing, reading was a joke. Perhaps what we would end up with something in the key of Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Well, the joke is on me.

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey has more in common when it comes to tone with the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre than Klowns, Scary Movie or the all-time king of cheese, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!

Stop rolling your eyes. I am serious. Really, I am.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing but the movie is a somber, humourless, no-holds-barred horror movie with throats being slit, bones being broken, faces being mauled, victims being sexually assaulted, bodies fed into wood chippers and a head being crushed so hard the victim’s eyeballs pop out and not in a fun, jocular way either.

What we have is a very warped retelling of the Winnie The Pooh stories we all know and love by screenwriter and director Rhys Frake-Waterfield. The animated, opening resembles a children’s fairy tale book and puts our story into motion detailing Christopher Robin’s wonderful friendship with his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. The twist is that Robin (Nikolai Leon) has to leave his pals behind when he goes to college. That causes the once adorable woodland creatures to become so feral and furious that over time they lose their sanity and affinity for the human race, except when it comes to stuffing their rolly-poly bellies with their blood and flesh. Pooh (Craig David Dowset) and Piglet (Chris Cordell) basically become Leatherface, the Sawyer Family slaughtering and devouring those who trespass in their Wood and decorating their dark and dingy tree house with the bones and body parts of their prey.

When Christopher returns to visit his beloved friends he is in for the shock of his life. Instead of the tearful reunion he was hoping for, the humongous horrors in Pooh and Piglet capture him, chain him up and lash, slash his back open with Eeyore’s dismembered tail. It is a scene right out of Hostel or Saw, well, close to one.

Oh, bother, indeed.

More victims for Christopher Robin’s former playmates arrive shortly thereafter to pad out the body count and allow the film’s FX crew to work their magic, which they do really well. Looking for a place to put her tortured mind at ease, Maria (Maria Taylor) brings her pals to a cabin in the woods for some rest and relaxation. It isn’t long before Pooh and Piglet are longing for a “small smackerel” of bone marrow, brains and intestines which all leads to a brutal and bloody showdown between a freed and vengeful Christopher Robin and the remaining gals who haven’t filled that “rumbly” in Pooh’s “tumbly” just yet.

Defying all logic, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey turns a childhood fairy tale into the stuff of adult nightmares. About the only time I really chuckled was when we see Pooh sitting behind the wheel of a car putting the pedal to the medal, ready to crush some poor sap’s body, skull. I mean, those fluffy ears and head above a steering wheel as Pooh snarls were priceless. Otherwise, the mutated Pooh and Piglet are utter monstrosities and part of the reason for that is Frake-Waterfiel keeps them in shadow most of the time. The silently sinister portrayals of Pooh and Piglet by Craig David Dowset and Piglet Chris Cordell are very deliberate, grim and severe. These are just some of the clever decisions Frake-Waterfield makes that keeps Blood and Honey from becoming an exercise in silliness and parody. There’s another surprise though. Remarkably, the movie has a lot of dramatic, creepy and imposing shots. Not something you would come to expect from a producer turned director with only three films under his belt or in a film about Winnie The Pooh of all things.

Just as you are probably rolling your eyes right about now or staring in disbelief reading this review, nobody, not even other horror fans, will believe you when you say that Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey is not only a decent horror movie but is a ghoulish, perverse and macabre one at that. Blood and Honey is already destined to become a controversial cult classic taking its rightful place beside such great films as Terrifier, Donnie Darko, Pumpkinhead, Eraserhead and Dead/Alive.

This truly is one of those rare, unique films that has to be seen to be believed. As Eeyore says: “They’re funny things, accidents. You never have them till you’re having them.” And Blood and Honey is one hell of a beautiful accident.

Stop rolling your eyes. I am serious. Really, I am.

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