Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey (2023) Review
It seems like we’ve been hearing about Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey forever. And now it’s here, the latest attempt to turn childhood favourites like The Banana Splits, The Grinch, and even Heidi into blood-soaked nightmares. And with Pooh being far and away the most popular it’s also been the most hyped and anticipated, even the fact Scott Jeffrey was producing it couldn’t keep me from wanting to see it. And now it’s here and all I can say is “Oh bother!”
Writer/director Rhys Frake-Waterfield (The Killing Tree, The Area 51 Incident) actually gets the film off to a great start with an animated segment telling us how Christopher Robin befriended the creatures of the Hundred Acre Wood only to grow up and leave for college, leaving them to suddenly fend for themselves. They turn on each other, and Eyeore becomes dinner. Pooh (Craig David Dowsett, The Area 51 Incident) and Piglet (Chris Cordell, Prizefighter: The Life of Jem Belcher, Mega Lightning) survive, driven by the thought of revenge.
Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from there as Christopher (Nikolai Leon, The Killing Tree) returns eager to introduce his wife Mary (Paula Coiz, The Leprechaun’s Curse, Tooth Fairy Queen of Pain) to his friends, only to find out the hard way that things have changed. If this had been the film’s actual plot, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey might have had a chance. Instead, it’s quickly cast aside to let Pooh and Piglet go after a group of women staying nearby.
Maria (Maria Taylor, Mega Lightning, Dinosaur Prison) is trying to get over an incident with a stalker so she and Lara (Natasha Tosini, The Manor, Quarantine Leap), Zoe (Danielle Ronald, Shockwaves, Dirty Games), Jess (Natasha Rose Mills, No Filter, Krampus: The Return) and Alice (Amber Doig-Thorne, Demons at Dawn, Run from Hell) head for a cabin in the woods to relax. Tina (May Kelly, Nutcracker Massacre, Medusa’s Venom) never makes it that far, she gets lost and Pooh tosses her in a woodchipper, but not before ripping her top off.
If all of this sounds more like a generic slasher film than a splatter version of A. A. Milne’s beloved tale it’s because that’s what Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is. While the characters may be in the public domain, Disney’s version of them isn’t so they look nothing like the Pooh and Piglet we’re used to. They don’t sound like them either, in fact, they don’t talk at all. They really needed to use some of the characters’ lines from the book to help sell the audience. Instead, they never manage to seem like anything except two large men wearing rubber masks.
The kills in Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey aren’t anything special either. At one point one of the characters stops and just stands there so Piglet can hit her with a sledgehammer. Another victim is tied up and run over by a car. Now, I might be able to accept these creatures wearing nice new clothes, but where did Pooh learn to drive? The same driving school Michael Myers went to?
Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey had the potential to be a classic bit of WTF cinema. The idea of a feral Pooh and Piglet was certainly audacious enough but the script is a mess and does nothing with the characters or the idea. And even if you approach it as two human killers in masks, the film is so poorly put together it fails on that level as well. The scariest thing about this mess is not only is there a sequel coming, but the same folk are also planning to give Peter Pan and Bambi the same treatment.
Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is currently in North American theatres with DVD, Blu-ray and Digital release dates yet to be announced. You can check distributor ITN’s Facebook page for updates. In the UK it arrives in theatres on March 10th and on DVD on April 24th. And if you want a film that’s not a pile of Pooh, FilmTagger can suggest some titles.