‘You must be starving’
Honeydew is a 2020 American horror film about a young couple that experience strange cravings and hallucinations; the result of having sought shelter in the home of an ageing farmer and her peculiar son.
Written and directed by Devereux Milburn and produced by Dan Kennedy and Alan Pierson, the Little Sky Film-Rubber Road Productions movie stars Sawyer Spielberg in his introductory role, alongside Malin Barr and Barbara Kingsley.
“The comparisons to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre meets Hansel and Gretel are apt. There’s no getting around it. The film is mainly an exercise in sound editing, almost to a distracting level. I’m not sure when the film turned around for me. It took a while. But once things get going, it’s a wild ride to the end.” Adam Hursey
“Honeydew is a disturbing slow-burn with bite. While Milburn doesn’t quite achieve a strong balance between the building of tension and a satisfying payoff at the end, it is still an incredibly strong feature-film debut. It tells a story that is as unique as it is uncomfortable.” Blogging Banshee!
“Honeydew gives a fresh take on a tired concept, stretching the bounds of horror-comedies to deliver something truly bizarre. Its idiosyncrasies likely won’t appeal to mainstream tastes. But for those willing to take an insane trip to a hallucinatory and hellish night of terror, Honeydew makes for one depraved mood piece full of warped humor and shocking violence.” Bloody Disgusting
“Honeydew doesn’t waste its time trying to make you jump. It wants you to squirm in your own curious uncertainty; question what is happening and be helpless and alarmed as the fatal finale steamrollers your emotions. This is an assured, directorial debut and a brilliant piece of genre cinema.” Brit Flicks
” …the resulting film feels fresh, unique and different. Much of this is achieved through outstanding sound design, cinematography and performances; Honeydew’s slow pace cranking up the tension with each scene. Unlike many horrors, Milburn has no desire to bathe his story in blood and gore.” Cinerama Film Online
“An insidious, nerve-splitting score and sound design take things into a truly unusual realm, especially alongside the constantly twittering Popeye and Betty Boop cartoons playing on an old TV screen and a truly unnerving nightmare sequence that has jumping, lurching logic. The movie even manages to echo David Lynch, a filmmaker who’s notoriously difficult to imitate.” Common Sense Media
“All of this is an exasperatingly long distance to crawl across hot coals of tedium to reach the 75-minute mark, when Honeydew finally outs itself as Texas Chainsaw Massacre Lite, which shouldn’t be surprising given how many times we’re treated to close-ups of forks going into mouths. After this reveal, the movie somehow still has a half-hour left in its tank, even though viewers are unlikely to have any patience left in theirs.” Culture Crypt
“Barbara Kingsley is joyously creepy as the mastermind of this macabre, food fetish prison the doomed couple find themselves trapped in and she seems to take real pleasure in breaking them down […] The greatest performances and the best horror movies come completely out of nowhere sometimes, don’t they?” Dread Central
“Anyone that’s watched a horror film where young people take shelter with a dodgy older family will know exactly where Honeydew is going. Even with that foresight though, the film is still a slog to get through with too many repetitive scenes and nothing to propel the plot forward.” Entertainment Focus
“There are some fascinating themes here reflecting on what the US has allowed itself to become, even in its heartlands, but ultimately the film works better as a metaphor than as a tale in its own right. Its narrative loops around like the passage of the seasons but doesn’t deliver as much sustenance as its delicious appearance suggests.” Eye for Film
“As the hapless young couple caught up in it all, Spielberg and Barr are nicely paired, and their subtly toxic relationship is well-written. Spielberg threatens to overshadow the whole thing […] but it’s a feature acting debut to be proud of. Like his father’s Duel, this is a pared-back genre film more focused on mood and tone than big scares or gore.” Horror DNA
“Honeydew is a divisive film, and how much viewers might enjoy it will likely depend largely on how willing they are to give themselves into Milburn’s measured, slowly unraveling style. I personally found myself mesmerized and fully engaged in the proceedings, with my attention held by the discomfiting sense of dread and of things being constantly off balance.” Horror Fuel
“Honeydew is quite splendid – the performances, direction and music are all spot on and for a first effort it’s quite something. One hopes Devereux Milburn’s body of work continues to develop along such witty, horrific and occasionally frankly disgusting lines.” House of Mortal Cinema
“Running a sluggish 107-minutes, Milburn’s editing doesn’t maintain a sense of awareness and occasionally fails to sustain itself […] His objective and artistic vision are bold indicators of a promising career, but the overall execution signals another pass through the editing bay could have benefited the audience who might check out before the closing credits.” The Only Critic
” …for all the excellent design on show and how it does set up an inventive descent, there is a lot of film here for a relatively small amount of material. Scenes feel drawn out, beyond the point of mood-setting and into the realm of repetition and stalling. It does retain a deep sense of strangeness throughout, but with such a sustained time dedicated to elongated scenes of odd happenings, fatigue soon sets in.” Scared Sheepless
“It’s backwoods hillbilly horror for the arthouse crowd. If you wanted to watch a movie like the original versions of Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes and not experience the blunt force trauma associated with it this is the movie you should watch. Honeydew reaches you emotionally and mentally rather than eliciting responses of shock, disgust or bloodlust.” Screen Anarchy
“Seems to run a contest over which is the lesser aspect of itself, the plot or the characters (they tie for least). A resounding mess that reeks of a pretentious college project, and irritates far more than it invigorates.” Splatter Critic
“Honeydew is a disturbing and unsettling trip into backwoods horror that takes its time getting to the meat of the story but is full of very uneasy moments. Karen, the old lady, could have come straight from Eraserhead with her odd behaviour, but that’s not to say that it’s derivative.” Starburst
Sam [Sawyer Spielberg]: “What a piece of sh*t.”
Honeydew had its world premiere at the virtual Tribeca Festival, which took place in New York City from April 15 – 26, 2020.
In the USA, Dark Star Pictures in conjunction with Bloody Disgusting will release Honeydew theatrically in limited locations on March 12, 2021, before VOD platforms and Digital HD release on April 13, 2021.
Cast and characters:
Sawyer Spielberg … Sam
Malin Barr … Rylie
Barbara Kingsley … Karen
Stephen D’Ambrose … Eulis
Jamie Bradley … Gunni
Joshua Patrick Dudley … Thin Young Man
Rachel Alexandria Arnold … Funeral Singer
William Aydelott … Priest
Shauna Mizula … Funeral Mourner
Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1
MOVIES and MANIA says:
Devereux Milburn clearly has a huge talent as regards capturing extraordinary scenes and imagery. Unfortunately, Honeydew‘s overly familiar and scant plot (complete with a very obvious twist), pointlessly oft-repeated shots of old cartoons and steamy radiators and its ponderous length will win few fans beyond some of the festival crowd who – predictably – professed to love it. Further hampered by its repetitive vibe, split screens that simply serve to remind the viewer “it’s only a movie” (soooo, 70s Brian De Palma) and an absurdly overwrought sound design, Honeydew is a massive missed opportunity.