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  • Nate Adams

'Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey' review: Oh bother! This cheap, clickbait, knock-off sucks


Courtesy of Fathom Events

 

No Grandma Jenkins, this new iteration of “Winnie the Pooh” is most definitely not for children. In fact, it’s not really for adults either. It’s dreadful!


Shocking as it may be, “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey,” a dilapidated, low-budget riff on A.A Milne’s original stories, has been commissioned outside of Disney’s jurisdiction thanks to the popular character entering the public domain (which means the Mouse no longer has exclusive rights, however, their version of the character remains under lock and key) and it’s such a wasted opportunity. You’d assume the first movie to exploit the cuddly, honey loving bear might have some moxy, ingenuity, or something other than actors donning horrendous look-alike masks (because they couldn’t afford CG), but aside from a hand-drawn opening sequence, the only creative spark writer-director Rhys Frake-Waterfield deserves credit for is getting his film released quickly. When there’s no competition, you can set the bar. 


And that bar is now very, very low. 


I suppose that’s to be expected of a movie that cost roughly $100k (the most expensive prop items in the film are the masks that reports say added up to $500 a-piece) but horror movie lovers who devour Waterfield’s usual direct-to-Walmart slop (think “Firenado” or, checks notes, “Mega Lightning”) would be wise to set this one aside. Except name brand recognition has a way of tricking people, including yours truly. The idea of Pooh and Piglet (played in the film by Craig David Dowsett and Chris Cordell) becoming feral, cannibalistic animals with an ax to grind after Christopher Robin leaves them behind in the Hundred Acre Woods isn’t the worst concept, yet the tacky writing, flimsy production design, and ineptitude at understanding basic slasher movie tropes is, frankly, staggering.


Considering the beloved source material, Waterfield had plenty to pull from and he instead strips it down to the basics. Obviously, “Blood and Honey” isn’t a children’s fable about Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore living happy-go-lucky lives with Christopher Robin; rather, it’s a loose statement on how isolation and abandonment can lead to, er, innate depravity. In “Blood and Honey,” Pooh and his loyal companion Piglet are all grown-up and have become sadistic serial killers. It’s fairly straightforward and we watch as they graphically dismember and mangle a group of nameless victims (the gore used is semi-impressive). Who these casualties are and what they’re doing in close proximity to the Hundred Acre Woods is never explained because the movie has little framing or narrative set-up. Even if the plot were coherent, the movie’s sole purpose is to introduce unsuspecting victims for slaughter and still, it struggles to do that. 


“Blood and Honey” occasionally displays effective practical effects, lighting and shadows (a scene where Pooh and Piglet murder someone in a hot tub is the only ounce of inspired filmmaking this movie offers) and since the masks don’t look authentic, shielding them as much as possible was probably the smart move. I also liked a bit where Pooh smothered honey on his victims as the slimy sound effects blasted the amps. Perhaps if “Blood and Honey” had leaned into those campy slasher elements more, it might’ve risen towards something redeemable. 


Alas, no amount of booze or drugs could make “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” redeemable. 


Grade: D- 


WINNIE THE POOH: BLOOD AND HONEY is now playing in select theaters before an eventual VOD release this spring. 


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