When A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh books became public domain on the 1st of January 2022, one of the first projects announced in development was a horror slasher reimagining of Pooh and friends. Independent filmmaker Rhys Frake-Waterfield thought it was a good idea despite the controversy from the general public and Winnie-the-Pooh fans. The industry can bow to the vitriolic voice. Sometimes people can be too judgemental before the finished film is seen and may receive critical acclaim and a reversal of the general public’s opinions. However, on watching Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, perhaps on this occasion, Frake-Waterfield should have reconsidered after the numerous death threats he and his production company claimed to have received following the project announcement.
The film opens with an animated sequence depicting how Christopher Robin’s relationship with Pooh and his friends deteriorated because he stopped visiting and left to become a doctor. As they depended on their human friend for food and guidance, they eventually became hungry and reckless, killing and eating Eeyore. Traumatised by their actions, they develop a hatred of humanity and blame Christopher Robin (Nikolai Leon), and on his return after five years, Pooh and Piglet capture him. Around the same time, Maria (Maria Taylor) and her friends decide to take a break in the Hundred Acre Wood, unfortunately becoming embroiled in events.
Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, from the start, attempts to perturb the audience, but it does not imbue any fear or tension because of its generic script, which has been the conventional plot for many horror films before, and as it brings nothing new to the genre audiences are likely to feel underwhelmed by it. Even the killers, Pooh and Piglet, could be some Scooby Doo-type villains with costumes and make-up departments only supplying the actors with rudimentary masks. While Piglet’s appearance is rather disturbing, with a hog-like look and tusks protruding from his mouth, Winnie-the-Pooh is the opposite, not looking unsettling and more like a cuddly toy bear that’s difficult to imagine him as a murderer.
Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey is neither disconcerting nor entertaining. It’s unlikely Winnie-the-Pooh fans will see the film as anything less than tarnishing a childhood character of such great fondness. I wasn’t receptive to this absurdity, and even less so for killing the beloved Eeyore.
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