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Honeymoon offers thrills and chills at The Tribeca Film Festival

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"Honeymoon" is anything but romantic

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At The Tribeca Film Festival, which ran in New York City from April 16 through today (April 27) everyone has a chance to be a critic. The public, media, and industry types all gather to watch screenings of edgy, campy, independent, and first rate films. I had the chance to screen “Honeymoon,” a psychological thriller with a science fiction twist at Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas Theater in Chelsea, New York at midnight today (April 27). The new film I viewed at The Tribeca Film Festival early this morning was by Leigh Janiak in her directorial debut - "Honeymoon" was as creepy as its movie poster suggests.

Added http://www.tribecafilm.com:“What begins as a peaceful retreat honeymoon for newlyweds Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) takes a sinister turn when Bea disappears one night, only to be found the next morning naked and alone in the woods. What follows is a brooding domestic drama punctuated by supernatural forces,” adds the web site. “Bea’s shift from a carefree young woman to cold, distant, and calculating echo some of the anxieties that come with a new marriage —issues such as secrecy, mistrust, and loss of identity—made all the more visceral through Bea’s unexplainable physical transformation and the possibility of a force beyond human control.”

The film is written by Phil Graziadei and Leigh Janiak and produced by Patrick Baker and Esmé Howard. The cast includes newcomers Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Ben Huber, and Hanna Brown. Rose Leslie as Bea gives a psychologically charged performance that transforms the actress from a happy newlywed at the beginning of the film to a psychotic woman who has been invaded by aliens. As her husband, Harry Treadway as Paul is transformed from a soft-spoken groom with a sexy attraction to his wife to a man capable of sinister revenge in a brutal, yet sexually charged performance.

Added http://www.variety.com: “Neither as purposefully spooky nor as inadvertently campy as the low-budget ’50s sci-fiers it often recalls. Some viewers may be mildly scared during the opening moments.”

“For better or worse, however, “Honeymoon” quickly reveals its true colors as a far more traditional thriller. The young marrieds drive to a remote cabin near a lake to spend their first few days of conjugal bliss. Their idyll, not surprisingly, is short-lived: Late one night, as the couple lies in post-coital slumber, their bedroom is illuminated with the standard-issue flashing lights usually employed by filmmakers weaned on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” to indicate Something Not of This Earth is lurking outside,” added Variety. “Bea awakens, and goes out to investigate. When she returns, she isn’t quite herself. Director Leigh Janiak, working from a checklist of cliches she assembled with co-scripter Phil Graziadei, fails to generate a sense of menace or an air of mystery as Paul gradually recognizes telltale signs that his beloved has been replaced, or possessed, by an unwelcome and unearthly visitor.”

States Variety: “Here and there, “Honeymoon” suggests a symbolic intent, hinting that the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”-style plot may be an allegory for the rude surprises in store for people who only think they know each other before joining hands in marriage. In a similar vein, those inclined to parse even junky B-movies for feminist subtext may read Paul’s reaction to Bea’s excretions as typical of unenlightened male responses to certain facts of female life.” Honeymoon is number 9 of 10 films to be excited about at Tribeca Film Festival, according to http://www.buzzfeed.com.

"The stress of everything is catching up to me,” adds Rose Leslie Bea to Harry Treadway as Paul towards the conclusion of the film. According to http://www.firstshowing.net,“Ohhh boy this looks really, really eerie. Be prepared for chills.” Staten Island fans of horrors, psychological thrillers, and science fiction will stay awake for this chillingly frightening look at alien possession and a honeymoon gone frightfully, horrifically wrong. Three out of five possible chills and thrills.

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