Goodbye Honey begins where many similar films end, with a woman, Phoebe (Juliette Alice Gobin), escaping from captivity. Alone, terrified and looking for help she stumbles across Dawn (Pamela Jayne Morgan, The Manor, The Vault) a truck driver trying to get a few hours sleep before she delivers her cargo.
She convinces the skeptical driver to take her to the nearest police station. There’s just one problem, she’s lost her keys since pulling into the rest stop. It also doesn’t help that Phoebe isn’t acting particularly stable either. A damaged cell phone and a confrontation with a pair of assholes Tyler (Jake Laurence) and Zach (Rafe Soule, Menagerie) make matters worse. But the worst is yet to come.
Goodbye Honey is the first feature film for both director Max Strand and his co-writer Todd Rawiszer. And for the most part, they do a good job of building the tension and keeping us guessing. For much of the film’s first half, I wasn’t sure if Phoebe was telling the truth or if she was actually crazy. Is she acting the way she is out of desperation or derangement?
Just as Dawn having unknowingly lost her keys, and not having a spare, seems a little odd. We see footage that possibly supports both of their stories, but neither is conclusive. It makes the tense and hostile relationship between the two women feel so much more real.
That’s also due, in a large part, to the excellent performances Gobin and Morgan both give. All of the small cast of Goodbye Honey deliver solid performances despite sharing the filmmaker’s lack of credits. Rafe Soule is particularly chilling as the unhinged Zach, somebody who could very easily be the film’s villain.
Unfortunately, the villain is where Goodbye Honey runs into issues. Once we do find out the who and why behind everything it’s a bit of a letdown. The motive is straight out of an 80s slasher film. Not that there’s anything bad about that per se, it just really doesn’t fit the plot and tone of this film. It also sets up the kind of coincidence that just doesn’t happen in the real world. it’s the kind of eye rollingly bad writing that can pull you out of a film. Thankfully Goodbye Honey is strong enough to survive it, but it did do some damage.
“It was an incredible experience for Todd and I to work with such an unbelievably passionate and talented cast & crew on our first feature film Goodbye Honey. For this journey to culminate in a 96-minute intense thriller, with two strong female lead characters, is so amazing and I couldn’t be prouder.Max Strand director of Goodbye Honey
Beyond that though, Goodbye Honey really does what it sets out to do. It makes good use of its two main locations, an empty rest stop and the truck itself to highlight the sense of isolation and of being trapped. There’s just enough of a scenery change when Phoebe finally fills Dawn, and us, in on what happened that we don’t become sick of seeing them either.
Everything builds to a final confrontation that’s tense enough that I wasn’t sure who would come out alive. It’s a satisfying end to what is not just an auspicious debut film, but one of the better thrillers I’ve seen recently. It’s not quite on a level with Alone but it’s certainly better than the likes of Cry for the Bad Man.
Freestyle Digital Media will release Goodbye Honey on May 11th on digital and cable platforms. You can check the film’s Facebook page for details.