Once upon a time in the Hundred Acre Wood there was happiness and harmony as young Christopher Robin spent time with his friends, but inevitably he grew up and left them behind when he departed for college, and in his absence they changed as the world grew colder and the food ran out, turning upon each other for sustenance, Eeyore called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Five years later, Christopher Robin has returned to the site of his childhood memories, stepping through the ferns and the rhododendrons with his fiancée, Mary, but he is no longer welcome, taken prisoner by Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet and tortured, his former friends hungry for blood and revenge and targeting a holiday home rented by a group of young women, as naïve and innocent as Christopher Robin once was.
The early works of A A Milne having entered public domain in 2022, writer and director Rhys Frake-Waterfield wasted no time in setting about corrupting the public image of the beloved honey-loving bear and his forest friends, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey having been shot for a modest budget in ten days in Ashdown Forest which was Milne’s inspiration for the original tales.
The premise established in the animated opening scene, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey might have been better had it just been left at that, the subsequent eighty minutes offering nothing which expands on that sad monochrome reflection of growing up and growing apart in any way which can be regarded as intelligent or entertaining, Frake-Waterfield instead presenting a sub-par slaughterhouse horror where without the masks and names are the only thing which establishes a link with the source material.
Where it should aim for outrageous and subversive, Blood and Honey is predictable and uninspired, Pooh and his friends described as crossbreeds and abominations in the prelude but then pushed to the background as silent, shuffling shapes of murder, ignoring the gleeful opportunity of twisting the beloved children’s characters and their adventures into something grotesque; there is no kite string decapitation on a blustery day, no becoming stuck a hole after eating too much while the killer closes in, no playing Pooh sticks with severed limbs.
From the requisite surrender of mobile phones upon arrival to prevent them calling for help later to Zoe (Danielle Ronald) bobbing stationary to make an easier target when pushed into the pool, from Maria (Maria Taylor) failing to mention she has a gun in her luggage or that it only has a single bullet loaded to questioning how Charlene (Danielle Scott) got taken prisoner rather than attempting to free her from her chains, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey is frustratingly and most importantly disappointingly dumb.
Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey is currently on general release