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‘Winnie the Pooh: Blood & Honey’ (Blu-ray review)

Shout! Factory

 

“Man is the cruellest animal.”
– Friedrich Nietzche

“Tiddly pom.”
– Winnie the Pooh

 

If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise as Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey sees A.A, Milne’s beloved children’s character reimagined as a brutal machete-wielding killer in this low-budget slasher flick.

Although he remains a “bear of little brain”, (more about that later), this incarnation is also a bear of plenty of gore.

Gore, gore and indeed more gore…

Producer/director/writer/editor Rhys Frake-Waterfield, (who probably made the sandwiches too), took advantage of the original books having entered the public domain to make this the first part of his “Twisted Childhood Universe”; whilst everything in the books was fair game, anything from the Disney movies weren’t, meaning that the dinky little red pullover was replaced by redneck overalls among so many other changes…

When Christopher Robin abandons them to leave for college, the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood turn savage, starting by eating Eeyore (NO!) and presumably anyone else not keeping to the path, (I did wonder why they’d chow down on him when Piglet is literally made of pork, but a depressed donkey would be even less of a horror icon…  Part of him does make a cheeky cameo later.)

When their childhood pal returns five years later, he and his partner are attacked and brutalised by a now monstrous Pooh, (Craig David Dowsett under a none-too-impressive mask) and Piglet, (Chris Cordell, his mask somewhat reminiscent of a life-sized Motorhead logo).

The gruesome twosome then go after a group of nubile female students who learn that reconnecting with nature can be deadly. Particularly the whole “ditching your mobile phone” bit, vital for films of this nature.

Who will survive?

The violence swings between exploitative (hapless woman has her blouse gratuitously ripped off before being offed), unconvincing (Pooh goes full Punisher mode on a trio of rednecks), and hilarious (a girl slo-o-owly swims away from a lumbering, sledge-hammer wielding Piglet).

Being a slasher film, we run through the usual structure of being hunted, killed, abducted, rescues and escapes.  There are no meta nods and although I did like the rather stylish animated intro, it’s all very much on the nose- the tension is, erm, “bearable”.  The violence swings between exploitative (hapless woman has her blouse gratuitously ripped off before being offed), unconvincing (Pooh goes full Punisher mode on a trio of over-confident yokels), and hilarious (a girl slo-o-owly swims away from a lumbering, sledge-hammer wielding Piglet).

Surprisingly, this movie does share one similarity with Clive Barker’s iconic Hellraiser– both movies seem to have a problem deciding whether they are set in the UK or the US.  Where did the American hillbilly and several other dubious accents come from? (Said hillbilly’s dialogue is particularly laughable – I don’t think lines like “better start talkin’ or you ain’t gonna be breathin’!” will be giving David Mamet any sleepless nights.)

Is there an international horror exchange scheme and if so, where do I sign up?

Extras include a featurette and trailer.

In conclusion, is this take on Pooh bear shit in the woods?

Sadly on this occasion, yes. The most unbelievable thing is that this movie actually spawned a sequel, apparently much better and even boasting a cameo from the great Simon Callow!

But as far as this installment goes, you will Roo the day you watch it.

 

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