Unfortunately, Winnie the Pooh does not speak in this horror-themed reimagining of the classic Disney character, but if he did, I imagine he’d say his iconic catchphrase more than once — because this is a film which certainly deserves it.
Masterminded by English director Rhys Frake-Waterfield, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey was announced in May 2022 and instantly gained notoriety and garnered significant controversy, but also stamped a permanent place in the minds of hardcore movie-goers such as myself. I wouldn’t say I was particularly excited, but I was intrigued, and sometimes, that’s enough.
That being said — this movie works because of its premise. You’re not expecting a masterpiece, nor should you. It delivers exactly what it promises, and on the condition that you embrace the ridiculousness and adjust your expectations, you get exactly what is advertised.
I love that this movie gained fame over a year before its release, because that’s exactly what it deserves: cult status before the world’s even seen it. I’m always in support of independent filmmaking, even if it’s trashy B-horror like Blood and Honey — but who can argue with that? Not many Indies get a chance to break into the mainstream like this, so I’d say give it a chance. It’s great on premise alone, but that’s about its only strength: after the animated opening montage, it becomes a pretty typical slasher without much originality aside from the fact that it’s silent, hulking, masked versions of iconic childhood figures doing the slaughtering. It’s violently gory, incredibly cringe-worthy, and extremely British. Not great by any means, but I had a ton of fun.
I have a bad feeling that this is only the beginning of a series of revisionist adaptations, as more and more iconic literature and stories begin to enter the public domain. Frake-Waterfield has since announced a sequel to Blood and Honey (with an even bigger budget to work with this time around), as well as in-development adaptations of the Bambi and Peter Pan characters. Whether these will be as notable as Blood and Honey or if the novelty will have worn off by then remains to be seen, but for now, consider my intrigue sustained.