As of January 1, 2022, Disney no longer owned the exclusive rights to A.A. Milne‘s Winnie The Pooh. Now the situation wasn’t exactly black and white as there are little wrinkles to the situation. For instance, Tigger remains exclusive to the company giant until 2024. However, Winnie The Pooh is out in public domain, and that means anyone can make use of the popular character for film or television.
Enter Rhys Frake-Waterfield. The writer/director announced a horror film highlighting the popular cartoon character. Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood & Honey actually got some solid traction from the mainstream because of the unique nature of the situation. No one has ever done a horror film featuring one of the most iconic characters in kids’ television. There was genuine intrigue behind this idea.
The problem was that it was never a premise to take seriously. There were hints of satire within the trailer when it first debuted. But any comedy and cleverness hinted didn’t exist in the full-length feature. Rhys Frake-Waterfield didn’t truly understand the purpose of Blood & Honey. That’s one of the core reasons the film didn’t fare too well.
The Story of Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood & Honey Had Strong Potential
The crazy thing about the film is there are flashes of brilliance within it. Turning Pooh and Piglet into humanoid animals was a good idea. The notion that these characters were furious over Christopher Robin abandoning them was solid as well. Since Robin took care of them, they were mostly domesticated animals. It’s actually quite hard for domesticated animals to survive in the wilderness because they lose their survival instincts and rely on human contact.
Surprisingly, there’s a deep story to tell here, and the motivation is quite strong. The execution of this story is simply terrible. Christopher Robin returns, and they immediately kill his wife. Instead of making Christopher Robin the protagonist and having him try to fight off these nightmarish creatures he tossed to the side.
Characters who have nothing to do with the story are introduced. Frake-Waterfield tries to give the main female lead some layers, but the whole side plot of these girls coming to a cabin in the woods kills any momentum that the story has. It has nothing to do with the lack of budget. Had the writer/director focused on Christopher Robin and him trying to fight off against the creatures he use to call family, then it could’ve been a tight low budget feature.
The Film Is Nothing More Than An Exercise For Gratuitous Gore
In truth, most horror fans mainly go to see films of this genre for the guts and gore. However, that doesn’t give this movie a pass to revel in its violence and gore. Admittedly, there are some effective and good kills in the film. Particularly the one where Pooh runs over the head of a main character. However, the purpose of these women in Blood & Honey feels like nothing more than an excuse to feature gruesome deaths.
The plodding is subpar, the pacing and editing are bad, and most of the characters are your classic horror movie archetypes. Meanwhile, Christopher Robin is simply being tortured by Pooh and Piglet. There’s not much development beyond that. He escapes eventually, but the steam Blood & Honey had, in the beginning is long gone. Their characters feel meaningless because the focus comes from the filmmaker waiting to top each gory death.
There’s never any true exploration of Pooh and Piglet’s mental state. They’re pissed, and that’s well documented, but there are no layers beyond that dimension here. More often than not, the film looks good, but the script is the ultimate killer behind such an intriguing premise.
Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood & Honey Feels Unnecessary
Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood & Honey feels like every slasher you’ve seen in the past 40 years. After the first act, the novelty of seeing childhood icons as murderous brutes wears thin pretty quickly. There’s a unique kill regarding Pooh and bees, but there’s not much else here that you can’t see in a standard slasher feature. There are loads of great ideas that desperately needed to be fleshed out more. Altogether Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood & Honey didn’t completely live up to expectations.