Honeydew – assured, creative and thoroughly disturbing

28th March 2021

Honeydew is available to rent or buy from 29th March.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

One of the biggest mistakes made in modern horror is the belief that gore trumps the atmosphere. I cannot begin to tell you how many horror movies I sit through where directors mistakenly believe a vast body count will gain them a coveted four or five-star review. Writer/director Devereux Milburn clearly understands this and offers us a horror movie bathed in tension, artistry and stunning sound design with Honeydew. Here his story may not explore anything particularly new within the genre, but the delivery is nothing short of breathtaking and terrifying.

Botanist in training Rylie (Malin Barr) and her struggling actor boyfriend Sam (Sawyer Spielberg) sit in a hot car, their minds engulfed by a series of individual objectives as they drive into rural America. Their destination is a small farming community nestled in rural New England devastated by a mass corn contamination many years earlier. The reason for their trip is Rylie’s thesis, with Sam merely along for the ride. However, our city slicker’s relationship is on the rocks, as they both attempt to follow their desires and careers while interpersonal honesty fails.


The mood is not improved when their temporary campsite is deemed problematic by a landowner, with the couple packing up their belongings in the middle of the night only to find their car no longer wishes to start. As they explore the local area looking for a phone, they stumble across the secluded home of the elderly Karen (Barbara Kingsley), where they seek help. Here they are welcomed with open arms as Karen invites them in for a meal as they wait for support. However, Karen’s love of cooking hides a far more deadly and vile secret.


Taking clear inspiration from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, it would have been easy for Honeydew to fall into a series of tried and tested horror cliches. But here the resulting film feels fresh, unique and different due to outstanding sound design, cinematography and performances as the tension is cranked up with each scene. Unlike many horrors, Milburn has no desire to bathe his story in blood and gore. Instead, he embraces the power of shadows, unseen torment and vulnerability in embracing the style of Tobe Hooper and Dario Argento. But, when this meets the unique and terrifying score of John Mehrmann, Honeydew truly finds an engaging and menacing voice.

Milburn relishes the opportunity to play with the viewer, continuously subverting our expectations of the journey. This leaves us disorientated but allows Milburn to perform his final trick in a harrowing and unexpected finale.


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