Sunday, May 28, 2023

Fool's Ball: The Third Saturday of October Parts I and V Review

The Third Saturday of October is the name given to an annual college football rivalry between University of Alabama's Crimson Tide and University of Tennessee's Volunteers, based on the fact that the games are traditionally played at such date mostly throughout the years. And now, thanks to writer, editor and director Jay Burleson, we can also associate this with 2022 indie slashers The Third Saturday of October and its sequel The Third Saturday of October V, which can be best described as a pair of callbacks to the horror subgenre's tropes and franchising, done away with varying degrees of "fun" where one is slightly better than the other. 

But are they fun enough to reach the same cheesy hilarity yet horrific gruesomeness of other throwback slashers such as, let's say, Dude Bro Party Massacre III (2015)? Well, let's find out and start this mess with...
The Third Saturday of October (2022)
Rating: ***
Starring: Darius Willis, K.J. Baker and Allison Shrum

Arguably the better of the pair, The Third Saturday of October (2022) sets itself in the late 70s and begins with the execution of a serial killer known as Jack Harding (Antonio Woodruff), whose death by electric chair is attended by the parents of some of the victims he claimed, Ricky Dean Logan (Darius Willis) and Vicki Newton (K.J. Baker), as well as an overly enthusiastic crowd gathered outside, eagerly waiting to see the maniac get fried and be driven out in a hearse. Shockingly (pun intended), Jack survives this attempt to end him and promptly revives in a graveyard where he slaughters those burying him. Ricky and Vicki, driving to the burial suspecting that Harding's brand of evil isn't gonna go down that easy, discovers the fresh massacre and makes the decision to go after Harding when the prison that done the execution refused to help.

Now returning to his old stomping ground town of Hackleburg, Alabama in a stolen hearse, Jack sets his murderous impulses on a group of out-of-towners visiting a friend's geriatric uncle to watch the annual college football game between Alabama and Tennessee. To be tied in this supposed fun night of football tradition is local waitress Heather Hill (Allison Shrum), who accepted the group's invitation to the watch party and more or less be the virtuous Final Girl in this horror show as she mostly keeps herself sane and level headed while everybody else around her get drunk, high and/or horny. As Ricky and Vicki eventually arrives in town and do their darnest to warn the town sheriff of a returning evil, it may be too late as Jack slays and mutilates one victim at a time this one third Saturday night in October and Heather may have no choice but to fend for herself against an unstoppable monster.

Taking cues from Halloween (1978), The Third Saturday of October (2022) slow burns its way to its massacre as about a half of the movie's runtime focused more on building its narratives, mainly Ricky Dean and Vicki's pursuit over Jack Harding, the out-of-towners' misadventures before the watch party, and Heather Hill's little Saturday night with a possible new group of friends, all the while our star slasher fills up the kill count with offscreen slayings and tame kills, harm random people by ripping parts of their scalps off or cutting them with a razor while they sleep, as well as boop a kitten's nose because, hey, sometimes a serial slayer just need a break from all the blood and guts and get in touch with their softer side, I guess. The direction lacks a consistent tone due to this multiple plot lines, leaving us with moments where we'll be watching a rather engaging duo of grieving parents share and bond over their histories of past traumas and hopes of moving on once all of this is over, only to be distracted next by the obnoxious ramblings of dope-smoking morons whose characters can be easily simplified as walking meat for the kills. That said, I do have to give credit to Darius Willis' and K.J. Baker's performances as Ricky Dean and Vicki respectively for being the most engaging players in the story and probably the film's strongest highlights, even more so with Willis' character for the little quirk of him exclusively calling Vicki in her full name throughout the movie, an oddity that help make Ricky Dean stand out a bit among the bland run of disposable meatbags here.

Still, the fact that majority of the casts fail to do more than be hollow caricatures also meant that you can feel the steady pacing more than it needed to be in some scenes, especially when it's just these people bumming out and doing various nonsense. These often draw out too much and end with minimal impact, as in we either seen the resulting shtick before or the scenes overburn themselves after overstaying their welcome. Thankfully, the ball got rolling nicely once the watch party starts and we see The Third Saturday of October (2022) flex their bloody streak on the kill effects despite the restrictions of a minimal budget, though I do wish for a more creative set of kills to make up for the wait. The last act stumbles on a clunky take, too, as it's simply an overplay of the killer's apparent invincibility, having him survive gunshots repeatedly and going after the Final Girl twice. It's mostly harmless fun, nothing too wild that we hadn't seen before from your typical cat-and-mouse between a killer and a survivor, but it does lose some points for how it just forced itself to end, lacking any real fanfare or even a proper conclusion to the whole gig.

Visually, The Third Saturday of October (2022) do look great with its color grading and wardrobe department, looking very much like the product of the time period it takes place at. In fact, I genuinely enjoyed this movie as a small and simple guilty pleasure of a throwback to 70s slasher, trailed along with enough ham, weirdness and violence to keep it engaging despite the missteps it made with its plot direction, pacing and fodder characters. It's nothing grand, but it's far from being completely bad either. It's solely an indie horror film that doesn't aim to be anything else than to be fun bodycounter and I can frankly value that.

1 male found murdered
1 male found murdered with a shovel
1 male found murdered
1 male seen killed, method unknown
1 girl seen killed, method unknown
1 female seen dead from a throat cut
1 female had her neck broken, face flayed
1 male had his throat cut with a garden shear
1 male garroted with a belt
1 female slashed across the neck with a knife
1 female beaten to death with a hammer
1 male gets a chainsaw to the head
1 elderly female seen slaughtered
Total: 13
The Third Saturday of October Part V (2022)
Rating: *1/2
Starring: Kansas Bowling, Poppy Cunningham and Taylor Smith

First of, no, there are no Part II to IV. The gimmick here is that the two movies are supposed to recreate the times one could go out and rent videos, only for the video rental to be missing copies of certain entries in a franchise you wanted to watch. Most of us have been there: somebody else rented all but one or two movie from a film series, worse even if the movies doesn't even follow one another back-to-back, but our young, enthusiastic inner-horror fan really wanted to see Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger cut up some teens that one Friday or weekend night, so we rent them anyway and we just have a blast watching the horror shows. Much to some slight confusion.

The Third Saturday of October Part V (2022), in all fairness and honesty, does succeed with what it's attempting to recapture, but as a slasher film on its own, I couldn't find much else to go with here.

Set in the 90s, Part V has the most standard plotting I've seen in a bodycounter as it's literally just teens watching a football game match between rival colleges, interjected with the usual slasher exploits of drinking, sex and burnt pizza, only for it all to be interrupted by the arrival of the franchise's star villain, the now-masked Jack Harding, who proceeds to chop, tear and stab down anybody he comes across.

While the original movie took cues from Halloween (1978) by building its time to the slaughterfest and focusing a good chunk of the act within a variety of characters to establish some people to root for, The Third Saturday of October Part V chose to dish out bloodier and gorier kills on a more generous pacing, as well as taking a big knife swing lampooning at the tendencies for horror franchises to get sillier the further it goes down via showcasing a few outrageous slayings and cook up the plot with more ham and cheese. The drawback, however, is that the casts are cheapened into these boring, obnoxious and hollow bunch of walking victims-to-be that often chews the scenery a tad too much and too long, clearly an aim to let loose and be as outrageous as the slasher franchises it's poking fun at. But with a lot of the jokes and campiness missing than hitting, this unsurprisingly makes the whole movie feel shallow and empty with its forced nostalgia through intentional bad acting, diminished writing quality and lazy direction, resigning us to a whole lot of nothing to move the plot forward or deem it more interesting than what it's letting it out to be, something that its collection of gory kills and bloody torture couldn't polish over.

Unless, that is, you are looking for nothing else but gory kills and bloody torture. That said, The Third Saturday of October Part V (2022) would work if you're not asking for a lot. Like, a whole lot. If you're simply hounding to see a silly slasher with just good gore and an attempt to be campy, regardless of how obvious the low budget seems are or how bland the story is, then this movie is a fair candidate for a watch. Aside from that, it hardly amounted to anything but a nostalgia-inducing gimmick and, sometimes, that's barely enough to make a film good.

1 male got his throat slashed with a knife (stock footage)
1 female killed with garden shears (stock footage)
1 male gets brained with a tire iron (stock footage)
1 female attacked, presumably killed (stock footage)
1 female knifed in the head
1 male gutted with a knife, bled to death
1 male had his head ripped off
1 female bludgeoned with a decapitated head
1 male killed offscreen, later seen stabbed in the gut with a dagger 
1 male had his throat cut with a garden shear
1 female killed offscreen with a garden shear
1 female shoved inside an oven, burned to death
1 male gets a whistle shoved into his throat
1 female repeatedly knifed in the head
1 male repeatedly knifed in the groin
Total: 15

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Secrets, Secrets, Who's got The Secrets?: Severed Lives (2006)

Severed Lives (2006)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Mary Alice Watkins, Alexis Celeste Elliott, Cathy Baron

For their senior thesis project, a small group of film students decided to shoot a horror documentary on their campus' twenty year-old urban legend in which it's said that a killer once went on a co-ed killing spree back in the day. As these girls gather around one night to think of a script that isn't going to devolve into cheesy horror territories, they would soon find out that they're in a real life slasher flick as a masked maniac starts stalking and picking them off dead one by one, seemingly in order to keep this film from ever being made.

As far as slasher cheapies go, Severed Lives (2006) suffers from expected pitfalls commonly found in a do-it-yourself production, mainly an awful sound design, dipping picture quality and price tag-constrained special effects. But in its defense, there is a little more heart put into this film as writer, director and producer Jake Helgren (who would later work on tons of Lifetime Channel and Hallmark movies) fully understands the core enjoyment of a simple slasher flick and done their best to implement it while tightening the purse strings. 

Clocking just less than fifty minutes, the direction is fluidly paced and focused, there's a couple of inspired camera work and editing, as well as a workable script done away with possibly some of the more agreeable acting done in a micro budget slasher film. The bodycounter elements are also a decent bunch once you get past the budgetary restraints; most of the onscreen murders are coupled with fair cat-and-mouse sequences and punctuated with a good helping of blood and chunks. The killer's guise is striking with their red faced mask and long black stringy hair creeping up on their victims like ghoulish hag. Their motive for the killings to teeter between maniacally clever and cheesy dramatic, but it does work with the twist reveal Severed lives (2006) went with, tying up everything that's been set into motion quite nicely in the end.

A fun enough slasher hokum if you're not asking for much, Severed Lives (2006) delivers all the manic massacre goods on a very tightened belt and I find that admirable enough to at least earn a watch.

1 female attacked inside a car, killed offscreen
1 female garroted with a belt
1 male attacked, later found stabbed to death
1 female knifed in the neck
1 female impaled with a javelin
1 female shot on the head
1 female knifed in the gut
Total: 7

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

One Bloody Pub Crawl: Slaughtered (2010)

Slaughtered (Australia, 2010) (AKA "Schooner of Blood")
Rating: *1/2
Starring: Chloé Boreham, Christopher Tomkinson, Steven O'Donnell

So, a dead body is found in a pub during a busy evening. The smartest thing you could probably do in this situation, apart from not go near the body, is call the cops and call it a night, right? Well, screw that sensible logic! Slaughtered (2010) says we should keep the bar open, have all the staff continue working and not talk about the dead bodies piling up all over the place! 

Yep, it's one of those movies.

Plot is arguably nonexistent in this shlock; we simply follow the staff of a local pub going about their night dealing with hapless drunks, new hires and potential red herrings who may or may not be responsible for a murder that happened five minutes into the film. Beers are served, pervy flirts make out in the backrooms, all the while a dark cloaked someone donning a mask full of glass shards do their fair share of onscreen and offscreen slayings until it's eventually obvious to the staff (but not most of the bar patrons, somehow!) that a killer is on the loose. Cops were called but only one showed by the end of the film and the killer basically got away with it all then, leaving us with a half-assed reveal that is virtually pointless as no motives were given and everything just stopped there! 

With acting chops as amateur as they can get and shitty audio mixing grinding up our precious ear drums, the only good thing I can point out in Slaughtered (2010) is that the gore effects and make-up are passable for a low budget indie and the killer's disguise is pretty badass in its near-simplicity. Other than that, this braindead slasher story is the very definition of forgettable despite the odd choices in its direction, like a staggering sad drunk who lost a bet. There's really nothing else to this film so feel free to bother yourself with this one if you absolutely have nothing else better to do.

1 male had his throat cut with a wood saw
1 male found stabbed in the chest with a keg coupler
1 male hacked on the face with a spade
1 female stabbed in the chest with a wood saw, force fed a glass shard and had her neck broken
1 female stabbed in the gut with a wood saw
1 male found with his throat cut and eyes missing
1 male found slaughtered
1 male stabbed in the chest with a wood saw
1 male found slaughtered
1 male hacked to death with a bill
Total: 10

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Dog Pagans in Campus: Blood Cult (1985)

Blood Cult (1985)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Juli Andelman, Charles Ellis and James Vance

I remember reading about Blood Cult (1985), interestingly, through a review of another low-budget, cheesy slasher known as Video Violence (1987). The article mentioned that the inspiration for Video was from one of its director's experiences at a rental store where a mother once came and thought of renting a horror film for her kids so long as it doesn't include nudity. Just nudity. Nevermind the gory violence, but apparently onscreen boobs and butts are the bigger concern. That memory was then recreated as a scene in Video with a mother character renting Blood Cult for her little kiddies and that got me into looking into that title. 

In some ways, I'm glad I did!
Billed it as the "first movie made for the home video market" (never mind Boardinghouse (1982) or Sledgehammer (1983), I guess), this mini-budget horror shlock starts with a college girl showering (her big poofy hairdo remaining poofy, logic be damned) while a figure dressed in black sneaks into the sorority house, meat cleaver at hand. Before long, the maniac cuts down the soapy sorority babe into a hacked-up mess with a limb taken and a strange gold coin with a dog's head sigil left behind. A second murder would soon occur at another sorority, this time a poor gal is decapitated and her roommate gets savagely beaten unconscious with the aforementioned dismembered noggin'. Trashy, cheap yet cheesy fun!

Getting on the case is one Sheriff Ron and he's reasonably baffled by the morbidly macabre nature of the killings. Listing the help of his daughter, a local librarian, Sheriff Ron deduces that the slayings might be of the occult nature as the dog-faced coins left at each crime scene are linked to a cult that worships a canine god named Caninus and believes in boons granted through the offering of body parts. It's no surprise then that more murdered college girls start piling up all over town, a farmer's pet dog is reportedly decapitated and strange "poachers" are spotted at some nearby woods holding bonfires and eerily chanting. Things that I'm sure would end well for horror movie sheriffs who are kicking overtime to investigate them...

Understandably loathed by many horror movie fans for reasons ranging from amateurish production and tedious direction, to monotonous pacing and all-too-natural casts (as in, the most everyday-looking people out there with acting chops just as unremarkable), I, however, couldn't help but appreciate Blood Cult (1985) for what it is, a cheesy horror shlock that does have its good moments; looking past its low budget mediocrities and overly talky detective elements, there's decent editing and camera work to be seen, as well as unintentional hilarity from its dodgy writing and how dramatic (or lacking) the acting and line reading can get. The generous amount of blood splatter and gore whenever the movie dips into the slasher elements are a nice bonus, but I genuinely like the overall story, finding it quite interesting for a low rent, mid-80s gothic serial slasher piece.

Though not an overall great movie, I couldn't put myself to call Blood Cult (1985) a complete waste of time, not with it being entertaining in its own terribly cheesed-up way. You could say this title is a guilty pleasure of mine, a joke of a horror flick that I just find tolerable enough for some laughs and an occasional watch. If you're looking for a shot-on-video slasher and don't mind sitting through a bad one, feel free to try out this movie!

1 female hacked to death with a meat cleaver
1 female decapitated offscreen, head used as a weapon
1 female hacked to death with a meat cleaver
1 female found hacked on the head, fingers chopped off
1 male hacked to death with a meat cleaver
1 female falls to her death
Total: 6

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Stoned, Boned and Owned: Halloweed (2016)

Halloweed (2016)
Rating: ***
Starring: Simon Rex, Shannon Brown and Jim O'Heir

Not wanting the infamy of having a serial killer father tainting their already lackluster lives screwing teachers of the night and smoking the devil's lettuce, step-brothers Trent and Joey Modine decided to haul ass to a town called Mooseheart to start anew, get their shit together and maybe even make a honest living to better themselves. Easier said than done, though, when the supposed All American Dream town is more of an all American dumpster fire with overly excited cops inching to do cavity searches, small town politicians getting on each other's throats and intolerable trailer trash making up the majority of the headcount. Nonetheless, the brothers make it work as Trent gets a job at a suicide support circle in hopes of impressing a local girl who starred in an infomercial promoting the town, all the while Joey works under Mooseheart's main pumpkin (and weed) supplier Patch as a drug donkey.

All is well until the town's legendary boogeyman, the Candy Corn Killer, suddenly makes a reappearance, coinciding conveniently with the Modine brother's arrival. Not wanting Mooseheart to figure out their less than stellar reputation as the sons of a maniac and have the new wave of murders blamed on them, Trent and Joey have no choice but to figure out who's behind the killings, save the town they're starting to accept as home and maybe, just maybe, smoke a hashful to celebrate a job well done. (Given they survive all of this...)

A stoner comedy at most, a slasher film as an afterthought, Halloweed (2016) is an absurd mix of humor and horror that doesn't quite balanced the "haha's" and the "holy shits" as nicely as it should, but I appreciate the effort done as it does have its moments of lowbrow quippy, cheesy fun and even a decent slasher murder or two. 

For half of the film's hundred minute running time, the story focuses on the Modine brothers settling in to the new town and getting around the weirdos living in it, leading up to plentiful subplots such as an election campaign between two manipulative arses brilliantly played by Parks and Recreation's Jim O'Heir and Reaper's Ray Wise, and Joey's drug-selling shenanigans under the literal watchful eye of Danny Trejo's eye-patch wearing wannabe drug lord who kept spewing "he who has the weed, has the power", even dragging along a pot dealer played by, unsurprisingly, Jason Mewes of Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob fame, to help with the operation. It amounts to a what's more or less a series of comedic moments tackling lowbrow topics of gross bodily functions, sexual and gay innuendos, and, yes, weed jokes, though only a handful of these seems to hit their marks on the laughs, while the rest kinda fizzled out for how over-the-top and desperate they feel. Fortunately, Shannon Brown and Simon Rex did a swell job on comedic timing and delivery as Trent and Joey respectively, with Trent being the straight man to Joey's immature and giddy personality, both actors giving their best to make these brothers be the hilarity that mostly carried the film. 

Things do get a lot better once Halloweed (2016) finally goes hack'n stab on us on its second half, kicking it off with a decently fun scene in a courthouse wherein one of the politicians gets a surprise visit from a killer donning a baby mask and full grown onesie, somehow pulling in all the good ropes of a cat-and-mouse chase and even throwing in seemingly supernatural hints with doors opening and closing by themselves and hauntingly devilish baby giggles echoing throughout the empty halls. Cue in the murder mystery angle as we learn of the town's history with a maniac who terrorized its citizens back in the 80s, somehow evading capture over the years, and I do get the vibes that this film is aiming to be a little smarter or wittier with its humor by going meta on us suddenly, name-dropping horror movies left and right, though it never took the horror itself too seriously, going as far as having this angle play second bananas to a romantic comedy plotting between Trent and his love interest. This means that the slashings are kept to a bare minimum after the initial attack and the slayings that come after are hardly on the creative side, but the comedic flow of the whole thing works nicely enough and the goofiness of the killer's get-up and how our heroes try to save their skin (and the town) without actually doing much in terms of confronting the goon did got a decent chuckle out of me. 

As stoner horror comedies go, Halloweed (2016) is watchable. Even more so, perhaps, if you're in a recreational state during Halloween (Yes, this is also a Halloween movie. Hardly felt like one but, yeah...) It's far from the best example of clashing marijuana humor with masked maniac massacre mayhem, but it works close enough to being a worthwhile viewing, given you don't mind the obvious low budget and the low blow running gags.

1 male executed via electric chair
1 male knifed to death
1 female knifed to death
1 male gutted with a knife
1 male killed with a knife, mostly offscreen
1 male knifed in the side, bled to death
Total: 6

Saturday, April 1, 2023

"Golden Title": Frozen Flesh (2001)

Frozen Flesh (2001)
Rating: LEGENDarily bad
Starring: Frank Gillis

I found it. I've seen it. The horror movie to end all horror movies. A macabre masterpiece of maniacal madness. A psychological shocker of surreal sins. An aberration of abnormal anguish. A presentation of putridness unmatched by many classics I've seen in my entire existence. A heart-stopping horrifying horrors of horror simply known as Frozen Flesh (2001)!

With a running time of almost two hours, we see the methodic mindset of a masked mass murderer expertly played by the one and only Frank Gillis, as they showcase to us what goes in the mind of a deranged individual as they feast upon what's not meant to be feasted. A gruesome buffet of human viscera and gore fills the screen every minute, artistically shot in red tint and sickening close-up, surely to sear it in our minds as we sit through this nightmare play of devilish directions. A true art of hellish sensibilities and a daring display of deadly malice, we would soon see this monster wield their blood-caked knife with furious frenzy, either to battle their own invisible demons or to succumb in their need to defile the human form with a swift carve of their blade, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over...

And over...

Okay, truth be told, that's two hours of my life I'm not getting back. Frozen Flesh (2001) is a weird little shit of a "movie" where we literally just watch a guy in a striped shirt and bag over their head just sitting there, while a plastic body part that you can buy at a Halloween goods store being passed on as this garbage's "gore effects" gets cooked inside an oven before our wannabe horror star just starts wielding the knife in the air repeatedly, in different angles. All of this in almost two hours of running time! Two fucking hours of red tint and bad score, while we watch what's basically some guy's take on a performance art without the striking and though-provoking sensibilities of actual art. I'm sure this is all good on paper at some point, maybe even philosophical or psychological even, but in practice and execution, I think a shitload of things got lost and tossed away, resulting to this head-on attack on our endurance and patience.

It's only fitting to cover this pile of cinematic excrement on April Fools Day as that's what it is. A joke. A big stupid joke of a movie that I guess only those with a certain warped mindset (or high on something both powerful and illegal) would find entertaining. If you're one of the people who enjoyed Frozen Flesh (2001) then more power to you! I'm glad this movie gave you joy while you find yourself strapped in a straightjacket and locked inside a padded room that one time you had a mental breakdown. In the meantime, the rest of us here would be better off seeing other movies to cleanse our palate of this worthless filth and that includes cheekier and hammier bad films that are Oscar winners when compared to this...

1 victim seen with their pieces being cooked. For an hour. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Hundred Aching Woods: Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey (2023)

Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey (United Kingdom, 2023)
Rating: *1/2
Starring: Nikolai Leon, Maria Taylor, Craig David Dowsett

With Winnie the Pooh characters becoming public domain around January of 2022, it's almost inevitable that we would see a horror spin to the beloved stuffed bear and his human bestfriend Christopher Robin, though I would have expected something a tad more inventive than this.

In an animated opening, Blood and Honey tells the tale of a young Christopher Robin who, some time ago, stumbled across five creatures deep in a forest called the Hundred Acre Woods, all of them half human, half animal abominations. The boy befriended the creatures, visiting them over the years bringing food and playing games, until the time comes that Christopher grew up to be a young man with aspirations to become a doctor. Thinking his crossbreed friends can fend for themselves in the woods, Robin leaves to go to college, not knowing that the creatures have gotten so used to him providing for them that they didn't know what to do once food becomes scarce in the Hundred Acre Woods. Starving to death, the animals made the traumatic decision to eat one of them, a heinous act that broke them into swearing bloody vengeance upon humans, especially the one who abandoned them.

Moving forward five years later, Christopher Robin returns to the woods, hoping to introduce his new wife Mary to his animal friends. Instead of a warm welcome, he finds the Hundred Acre Woods devoid of joy and the once jolly and silly pig named Piglet and bear named Winnie The Pooh are now deformed into grotesque mutant killers with an insatiable bloodlust. The mutants murder Christopher's wife and capture him to punish and torture.

And with that, we now set our attention to a group of girls visiting a cabin nearby Pooh and Piglet's stomping grounds and, honestly, this is when the film flopped down the road and hit every overused jagged rock the further it goes as we're practically treated with the barest of bare bone slasher treatment a low budget production can make. Girls got the attention of the two freaks. Freaks start stalking the cabin. Girls freak out and get hunted down. Climactic showdown. All of this could have been an enjoyable, cheeky ride of blood and guts but, in a lack of better terms, Blood and Honey decided to be a mostly straightforward slasher. And I'm putting great emphasis on straightforward

Taking away the gimmick that the two killers here are slasherfied beloved characters from English author A. A. Milne's children's books, there really is nothing else that the movie offers here except the same old backwoods hack and slash we've seen a hundred times before. Sure, Piglet is a boar now for some reason and Pooh Bear has that one scene where he summons a swarm of bees to stung one fella to death, but apart from that, these freaks could have been easily replaced by any other masked psychos and the story would practically remain the same. It also doesn't help that the characters are lackluster at their best and boring at their worst, with the main girl basically the only one with some bit of depth as it is revealed she's doing this outing to get over a horrifying stalking experience. To be fair, the acting is fine and all, but if the characters involved failed to stand out from your usual nerdy girl and social media obsessive types, it ain't doing the film that big of a favor.

Then there's the matter of tone which is, personally, the film's biggest drawback; you would expect that a horror Winnie The Pooh movie would try to at least squeeze in some satire at how ridiculous the story sounds, maybe throw in a joke or two at it even, but instead the film tries too hard to be a serious slasher with dramatics involving abandonment and trauma, clashing greatly and sucking the fun out of the silliness of killer animal mutants with exaggeratedly cartoonish evil faces murdering paperthin characters in gruesome ways. (Well, as gruesome as the budget allows it) 

On a technical level, Blood and Honey has an undeniable air of cheapness when the supposed mutant man-animals are obviously men in silicone masks, but at least it's easy on the eyes save for a dodgy editing or two. At the end of it all, the movie is a wasted opportunity and though I appreciate director, writer and editor Rhys Frake-Waterfield doing all of this effort to make horror Pooh Bear work, the lack of energy, excitement and maybe a tad more twisted creativity simply leaves an uninspired taste in my mouth the moment the ending credits roll. Oh, bother, don't bother.

1 female strangled with a length of chain, neck crushed
1 female repeatedly beaten, shredded through a woodchipper
1 female had her head crushed with a car
1 female brained with a sledgehammer
1 female mauled to death
1 male beaten to death with a sledgehammer
1 female stabbed through the mouth with a machete
1 male had his face clawed off
1 male stomped on the head
1 male had his throat clawed
1 male stung to death by bees
1 female decapitated
1 female had her throat cut with a knife
Total: 13