Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 (2024) Review

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2

The idea of a beloved children’s character being reimagined as a homicidal maniac was always going to be a tough sell. In 2023, Rhys Frake-Waterfield’s first installment, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, polarised audiences with its audacious yet poorly executed premise. Now, Frake-Waterfield returns with Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2, a sequel that seeks to expand the so-called Twisted Childhood Universe (TCU). Unfortunately, despite a larger budget and a more ambitious scope, this sequel remains mired in the same pitfalls as its predecessor.

Picking up shortly after the events of the first film, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 follows Christopher Robin (this time, played by Scott Chambers), who has been ostracised by his hometown of Ashdown after the Hundred-Acre Massacre. The townspeople either believe he is the true murderer or are skeptical of his tales of anthropomorphic creatures committing the crimes – and who can blame them? While Chris tries to put it life back together and find normality, a band of believers continue their search for Pooh and co, who are now on the run and angrier than ever about being neglected and persecuted.

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2

Following an impromptu bloodbath, Winnie-the-Pooh (Ryan Oliva), Piglet (Eddy MacKenzie), Owl (Marcus Massey), and Tigger (Lewis Santer) decide it’s time to take their revenge on the town, resulting in a bloody spree that brings the nightmare to Christopher’s doorstep. And in an effort to stop them, Chris uncovers the darkest of secrets that goes some way to explain the surreal circumstances.

One of the notable enhancements in this sequel is the script by Matt Leslie, which adds some depth to Christopher Robin’s character. The narrative explores his trauma, his struggle to clear his name, and the haunting memories of his childhood, including the mysterious disappearance of his twin brother, Billy. This psychological aspect offers a glimpse into a more compelling storyline, attempting to ground the absurdity of the premise in some emotional reality. Even though there are still many holes, this in itself is an immediate improvement on the first installment, which lacked any real plot or direction.

The moments of potential that the elevated writing brings are overshadowed by the film’s numerous shortcomings. The direction by Frake-Waterfield still lacks finesse, particularly in the horror sequences. The gore is plentiful, but it feels more like a crutch than a feature, relying on shock value rather than building genuine suspense. The action sequences, filled with dark, shaky camera work and rapid cuts, are often hard to follow, making it difficult for viewers to become fully immersed in the horror.

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2

The film’s technical aspects are a mixed bag. On one hand, the prosthetics and creature designs are a marked improvement over the first film, with Winnie-the-Pooh’s new look reportedly costing over $20,000 compared to the meager $770 spent on the original. This investment shows, as the creatures now look more menacing and believable. On the other hand, the lighting remains problematic. Scenes are inconsistently lit, with some being overly bright while others are too dim, detracting from the overall visual coherence of the film. And whether or not you like the fact that the villains can now talk, is probably a Marmite matter – some will love it while others will hate it.

The cast’s performances are another highlight. Scott Chambers delivers a solid performance as Christopher Robin, effectively conveying his character’s fear, confusion, and determination. This is a big improvement on the previous casting, though between Blood and Honey 2, Doctor Jekyll and Malevolent, Chambers is in danger of seeming a bit one-dimensional. Tallulah Evans as Lexy, Christopher’s girlfriend, and Simon Callow as Mark Cavendish, a guilt-ridden janitor with crucial information about the creatures, also stand out. Their efforts help to elevate the material, providing some much-needed gravitas amidst the chaos.

Despite the numerous refinements, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 still struggles to justify its existence. The decision to turn beloved childhood characters into slasher villains remains controversial and still feels more like a gimmick than a creative reimagining. The film’s attempts at metafiction, acknowledging the existence of the first film within its universe, come off as self-indulgent rather than clever.

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2

Furthermore, the ethical implications of exploiting public domain characters in such a manner along with the misogynistic tones in the violence will still leave a bitter taste in the mouth of some.

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 is an improvement over its predecessor, but it still falls short of being a worthwhile horror film. The narrative’s psychological depth and the cast’s strong performances provide some redeeming qualities, but they are not enough to overcome the film’s fundamental flaws. As the Twisted Childhood Universe continues to expand, one can only hope that future installments will find a more balanced and respectful approach to blending horror with nostalgia. For now, this sequel remains a curious but ultimately unsatisfying experiment in genre filmmaking.

Movie Rating:★★☆☆☆ 

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey trailer

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Tom Atkinson

Tom is one of the editors at Love Horror. He has been watching horror for a worryingly long time, starting on the Universal Monsters and progressing through the Carpenter classics. He has a soft-spot for eighties horror.More

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