Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 Review

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Summary

  • Embracing meta direction and clever twists keeps this sequel fresh and surprisingly enjoyable.
  • Well-done prosthetics, pacing, and gore make for a satisfying horror experience.
  • Despite being a bit mean and sacrilegious to Milne’s memory, and having some weak internal logic, the film offers a raw love letter to over-the-top horror fans.



Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey was trendy but abysmal. Yet somehow, writer/director Rhys Frake-Waterfield managed to garner the cash with their Jagged Edge Productions for a sequel. The filmmaker reportedly listened to the niche audience who balked at the low-budget horror film that pooed upon A.A. Milne’s classic IP. His “Come to Jesus” moment lured in co-screenwriter Matt Leslie (Summer of 84) and the duo pretty much reinvented everything for Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2. The story is plausible if not better, and the horror and gore recall the gritty, one-note, blood-soaked horror escapades from the 1970s and ’80s, such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, and Theater of Blood.


The film adds a few villains into the mix. Owl, Piglet, and Tigger join Pooh in his rampage to strike back at the town of Ashdown, particularly its teenagers and, of course, Christopher Robin, who is now played by producer Scott Chambers. The kill count is high — more than 50. We lost track. Decapitations are a big thing here, too, thanks to a large bear trap. Severed limbs ripped right off the body? Well, of course. Bloody, grisly, and sometimes look-the-other-way disgusting, the film is a love letter to horror fans who like their horror raw, rowdy, and ridiculously over-the-top. That the new concepts employed here are often effective may be the most frightening thing about Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2.


This Teddy Bear is Ticked

Winnie the Pooh - Blood and Honey II

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey 2

3/5

Release Date
March 26, 2024

Director
Rhys Frake-Waterfield

Cast
Scott Chambers , Ryan Oliva , Tallulah Evans , Simon Callow , Eddy MacKenzie

Runtime
100 Minutes

Writers
Rhys Frake-Waterfield , Matt Leslie , A.A. Milne

Studio(s)
Jagged Edge Productions

Distributor(s)
ITN Distribution

Pros

  • Going in a meta direction is surprising and clever.
  • The prosthetics are well done and the gore and kills are good and well-paced.
Cons

  • It still feels cheap and a little mean and disrespectful.


Why is it frightening? Because there’s more to come. And that raises questions. Like A.I. and horny Tribbles before them, Frake-Waterfield and producer Scott Chambers are overpopulating. The duo is expanding their Poohniverse. Poohniverse: Monsters Assemble, part of the filmmakers’ Twisted Childhood Universe, is already on the table. Bambi: The Reckoning will eventually leap into theaters, as will Peter Pan’s Neverland Nightmare. Get this: Tinkerbell’s pixie dust in heroin. Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 3 is confirmed. Who’s next? Cinderella? Yes. Cinderella’s Revenge is due out April 26, with another filmmaker attached.

Related: Goriest Horror Movies of All Time, Ranked

True, the new films in the Poohniverse may wind up being enjoyable. But if films are intended to entertain and provoke thought and discussion, we would be remiss not to point out, or at least explore, the deeper meaning behind the recent uptick of taking classic IP, particularly beloved children’s stories, and twisting a knife in them until all the blood spills out. A psychologist would have a field day dissecting these creative inclinations. Come to think of it: Sydney Sweeney would be great for that role in that kind of movie. (You read it here first.)


Recolored Poohniverse poster of horrific monsters from Winnie the pooh blood and honey
Jagged Edge

Don’t worry, there’s a film review in here somewhere. Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 tracks Christopher Robin (Chambers) one year after the events of the original film. The big twist? That film was actually a movie within this story. Good move. It gives this film a fresh start, which explains all the monster makeovers employed in this sequel. Sure, Pooh, Piglet, Owl, and Tigger all still look like humans wearing animal suits, but it all makes sense now, and to share more about that would reveal a major spoiler, and it’s best for audiences to experience that on their own.


The filmmakers have effectively presented a more plausible tale and, to their credit, manage to make good use of their new narrative by bookending most of the gross horror on either side of a mid-section that, surprisingly, makes sense. At least in this horror universe.

Pacing Out the Thrills

The town of Ashdown is featured more in this sequel, as is the 100 Acre Wood, which gives the story a better sense of time and place. Grisly events happened a year ago and with the “movie” revealing such horrific events in the woods, Christopher Robin has become an outcast. There is a central mystery related to Christopher’s past in Blood and Honey 2, which he attempts to unearth in therapy. Girlfriend Lexy (Tallulah Evans) is supportive, as is Christopher’s family, although younger sister Bunny (Thea Evans) has taken to creating a bear voodoo doll. Ouch. And… Bunny? Does this mean she may become “Rabbit” in the Poohniverse? Stay tuned.


Related

Exclusive: Blood and Honey 2 Actor Lewis Santer Says ‘People Are Dying Left, Right, and Center’ in Sequel

The ‘Tigger’ actor unpacks the grizzly mayhem in the blood-soaked sequel and teases an expanding Pooh-verse of horror.

Onto the gore. Pooh and Owl have at it early on — dismembering, beheading, and all that. Horror fans will delight in it all. Other scenes, particularly the festive rave in a warehouse, gives Pooh and Tigger a great way to feed off the town’s teenagers. We’re never really all that sure why Pooh wants to get rid of these young people, and a gaggle of others. If the Terrifying Teddy’s main angst revolves around Christopher, then why not just go after him and his loved ones?


Best not to think about that. However, Pooh does, in fact, eventually go after Lexy — while she’s babysitting, no less. (Would we have it any other way?) And his family. By this point, the film has entered its third act and Christopher Robin has uncovered a sobering truth, one that sends him spinning to a final confrontation with Pooh.

And All That Gore

Different characters from Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 on the poster holding a chainsaw
Jagged Edge Productions

Frake-Waterfield does an apt job with the gore, overall. Bodies are dissembled and killed with such, ahem, panache. The new monster prosthetics are more believable. The film mostly takes place at night over several days, which must have trimmed the modest budget. There are moments of suspense, but the film loves setting up bloodbaths to splash around in.


Frake-Waterfield also lifts from classic horror films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th — the kid Lexy is babysitting, in fact, is wearing a Jason mask and toting around a fake machete. Overall, there’s a quasi-in-your-face/finger flip-off to the filmmakers’ critics, too. Perhaps he’s saying: “I’m going all out, and I’ll huff, and pluck, and f*** with this genre anyway I want.” (Oh my — The Wolf in The Three Little Pigs. Yet another idea.)

One final note: Fellas, it’s one thing to take a beloved children’s classic, one which inspired generations of kids, and play around with the IP. But when, during one character’s “Google” search, you change the search engine to read Milne, well, that’s a stab in the heart. Milne would, pardon the phrase, pooh-pooh this Poohniverse. That said, this film still works, and it’s a sickly-sweet homage to horror fans near and far. But be forewarned: stick your hands in this honey pot, and you’re bound to want more.


Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 is playing in select theaters (you can find screenings here) and will be available to stream in the coming months. Watch this space for updates. Dive into the trailer below:

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