Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 (2024)

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 Review

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 (2024)

This time, there are three storybook beast creatures; however, Rhys Frake-Waterfield is still more of a packager than a director.

For over forty years now, moviegoers have flocked to see people get killed by a chainsaw-wielding maniac, a maniac in a Halloween mask, a maniac in a hockey mask, a maniac with burnt flesh and striped shirt and fedora, or a maniac with S&M nails in his face. So why not a maniac Winnie the Pooh?

“Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey” caused some feathers otherwise known as free publicity for taking two beloved children’s characters and putting them at the center of a slasher film. But that was pretty much the whole idea. The $50,000 movie was too sluggish and incompetent to be an actual scandal or any kind of theatrical sleeper hit (it opened on 1,652 screens and ended up grossing $1.7 million). On paper it sounded like an extreme TikTok video; on screen it was amateurishly staged and badly paced, neither scary nor funny. “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” was so unimaginative that it never fully delivered on its satirical hook and convinced you that you were seeing killer versions of A.A. Milne’s legendary characters; mostly you were just watching Christopher Cross in a rubbery Winnie the Pooh mask that didn’t even look like Pooh.

And yet “Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey,” by its very existence, announced where horror could go next. The rights to the Winnie-the-Pooh characters had been owned by the Walt Disney Company since 1966 (at which point Disney was eating up children’s classics as greedily as Pooh licking out the insides of his honey jar). But the first of the Pooh books, published in 1926, entered the public domain in the U.S. on Jan. 1, 2022, and Rhys Frake-Waterfield started shooting his horror-hack curio just three months later.

His big idea was a bit like what you used to see in porn — when they’re spoofs of real movies with titles like “Pulp Friction” and “Legally Boned.” “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” wasn’t porn, but it was blood-soaked exploitation cosplay. Its only genuine horror was showing how easily beloved IP can be reduced to garbage.

I would be less skeptical if the ‘Winnie the Pooh’ horror movies had a bit of the transgressive skill that Damien Leone puts into his ‘Terrifier’ films. But they don’t. They’re slasher movies at heart. You could argue as early reviewers have that ‘Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2’ is “better” than ‘Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey,’ because it’s got more story and a bigger budget. It’s just that story is what Frake-Waterfield and his screenwriter, Matt Leslie, aren’t so good at. The movie certainly sprawls; there’s more deluxe lensing than in the first film, and there’s an actual name actor onboard the ancient ham Simon Callow, looking spooked and speaking in a Scottish brogue as he explains to Christopher Robin how Winnie the Pooh and his fellow beast creatures got that way: Some mad doctor abducted local children and infused them with animal DNA (very ‘Island of Lost Souls,’ only this completely contradicts the backstory that was told, in imitation A.A. Milne drawings, in the first film).

There may indeed be a lot going on in ‘Blood and Honey 2,’ but let’s not kid ourselves: It’s mostly a mess. One year after the 100 Acre Massacre, everyone in Ashdown blames Christopher Robin for it; they think he did it. Why anyone would want to pin such a crime on such a nice guy is beyond me, and anyway, the movie doesn’t really follow through on that idea except to make the point that Chris is now a walking trauma case (Nikolai Leon played him right in Part 1; now he’s played by Scott Chambers, who comes off like he’s auditioning to star in ‘The Ed Sheeran Story’).

There are more creatures this time, and a lot more mayhem more dismemberings and decapitations and face-gougings, especially during the climactic rave sequence, which lays waste to everyone on the dance floor. Pooh (Ryan Oliva), who’s been redesigned, still wears his signature overalls and red flannel shirt, but his face looks even gnarlier now; he resembles a homicidal version of Jim Carrey’s Grinch. Owl (Marcus Massey) looks like someone in a royal crow costume out of ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ (and speaks in a voice of aristocratic evil), and Tigger (Lewis Santer), who doesn’t show up until that rave sequence, has a face that’s nearly identical to Pooh’s for no good reason. But he’s got claws that slash like knives, and his Tiggerish energy may be the closest thing here to a quality associated with the character of legend.

Maybe Rhys Frake-Waterfield is a filmmaker, but he really is a British trash genius who in the year 2021 quit his job at an energy company to bundle low-budget horror movies. Over two years, he made 36 films with names like “The Loch Ness Horror,” “Snake Hotel,” “Alien Invasion” and “Medusa’s Venom.” Somewhere up there in drive-in-theater heaven, Herschell Gordon Lewis and Ed Wood are smiling, even if Frake-Waterfield makes them look like Scorsese and Spielberg. Still: There’s no getting around the fact that he’s a shrewd and driven packager. He has announced elaborate plans to launch the Poohniverse, which will include such movies as “Pinocchio Unstrung,” “Bambi: The Reckoning” and “Poohniverse: Monsters Assembled.” I’m not sure any of this will unsettle audiences very much. But you can be sure the IP is quaking.

Watch Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 For Free On Gomovies.

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