Its a word that means the joining of two people in holy matrimony. But it also means that its a new adventure for two people who love each other enough to want to explore this journey. Its new and exciting at first and eventually becomes hard and scary as time passes by. Trust me when I say its not as easy as some of your friends will make it seem. There are bumps and turns in your journey that can lead to good and bad times. Now Leigh Janiak's directorial debut looks to drive a wedge between happiness and fear as explores the possibility that something could go wrong even on the first night of the honeymoon. Your asking who is this Leigh Janiak, well its simple to ask that question cause the man's first film is this film but his work has been seen by some on films like Europa Report Fighting and Mirror Mirror as he was an assistant to various people working on those films.
The film centers around a young newly wed couple named Paul and Bea who fresh off their wedding have taken off for their honeymoon to spend the time in a rustic cabin that's centered in the woods. It is there that Paul becomes aware of Bea's past and her family, things that were left out of their beginning stages of their relationship. Let me at first say that there is little to no plot to explain their beginning and what was really told to Paul. This for me did at first make apprehensive cause I am the type that does need a little story but with this film. No plot to grasp a hold of so early on kept me watching as everything that was going on had to eventually pay off in the end. Use of the woods as an angle to play that your in the middle of nowhere anything can happen. The dark forest has paid off for so many films that its no surprise that Janiak used it for this film and paid off.
The fear factor is ramped up when Bea goes missing in the course of the honeymoon. Causing her husband to tear through the house to find her and eventually having to brave the elements of the woods and go outside to see if she is out there. Not knowing what is really out there is the most scary thing in the world cause you can think that its just a tree branch falling to the ground but it can really be that animal right there waiting to attack you or that monster hunting you. But after a quick search Paul eventually finds her and she chalks it up to sleep walking. Something she never did before when they lived in the city as he claims. We also meet two other characters another couple named Will and Annie who come off sketchy and scared themselves. The character Will is apparently a old friend from Bea's school years that at first didn't recognize but he did the moment she walked away. To me that was confusing cause you were face to face with one another and its takes her to walk away before you can put the face to a memory. Over the next few days Bea's behavior becomes increasingly weird for Paul and he begins to question everything and wants to leave.
Now as with any couple you have your fights. It can be over anything from finances to the time it is when one of you come home from work. Paul becomes engulfed in fear that his wife is not who she appears to be anymore. He argues with her over her behavior and she plays him off as if he was the crazy one but its clear as time passes on that Bea's behavior becomes erratic and brutal. Trying to hide her injuries from Paul cause him to question her about her well being leading to him to want to leave but the keys are gone and he goes into a rage to find them and questions her but she has already caused a severe injury herself to hide something but Paul's fear and mindset becomes broken when he ties her up and figures out that Bea is truly not who she is and is something else hiding within her own skin. His love for her is questioned at first as he tries to believe her but doesn't when she can't put facts together for his questioning and he finds out by his own hand that what is inside of her is in fact not human. This leads to him allowing her to become freed and she argues with him that she has to hide him from something then a bright light engulfs her and she becomes deviant that she has to hide Paul as she hits him with the video camera they had brought with them on their honeymoon.
Paul wakes up just in time to see her slight transformation and his eventual demise as she hides him in a way that he screams to her is not a way of hiding but is a way of death.
The film is considered a horror film of sorts but the fact that its not entirely built to be a horror film doesn't hurt it. Its use of a relationship's drama to help build towards the fear factor helps it usher in the science fiction feel of the film. If I compared it to any film I would have to compare it to the Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets Impostor. Rose Leslie is very well known to us genre fans as she is from HBO's Game of Throne's series as she played Ygritte, the wildling love interest of Jon Snow and Harry Treadaway who many of us should recognize from Showtime's Penny Dreadful series as he's currently playing Victor Frankenstein. The film doesn't really pack a punch of scares for anyone whose looking for that in this film but it is very well shot and the actors work off one another very well allowing you to fall into the mold of the film and feel for if not one of them but both of them. So is this a film I would recommend for you to watch. I would say yes cause its one of those films that will fly under the radar til year's end when people make their top 10's and it finds its place on that list of at least their honorable mentions.
Reviewed by Bucky S.