Happy Monday, Friends!
I hate to say it, but I’ve been slacking on watching new horror recently; I’ve been way too busy to go to the theater (not that there’s anything decent playing in major theaters and all the indie theaters are a good hour away from me) and Netflix just isn’t offering top notch selections, in between work, school, and kids I’ve been spending my nights watching Property Brother reruns. But last night my kids were with their dad and Michael and I found ourselves with lots of time so we figured we’d try to knock a few movies off our list. We watched May and Honeymoon (and about five minutes of the Cabin Fever remake before we threw in the towel, but that’s a blog post for a different day).
*SPOILERS AHEAD, PROCEED WITH CAUTION*
Honeymoon is about Bea and Paul who, after marrying in haste without really knowing each other all that well,* go on their honeymoon to a remote Canadian cabin and some shit goes down; they meet a childhood friend of Bea’s and his wife, who are both super duper awkward, then Bea ends up naked in the woods early the next morning, disoriented and acting real weird. Paul suspects her childhood friend had something to do with it (it’s implied Paul thinks Bea was raped) but it turns out there’s some aliens who put some weird worm baby inside Bea, either causing her to act like a pod person or maybe she actually was a pod person? We’re not sure, it’s never really explained. She kills Paul by attempting to “hide” him from the alien overlords in a lake then she turns into a semi-lizard looking thing and maybe gets on a spaceship? Basically, if you like movies with clear-cut explanations and plot twists wrapped up in a neat little bow by the end, you will be disappointing as nothing in this film is explicitly explained, only implied.
*TRIGGER WARNINGS: RAPE, DOMESTIC ABUSE, SELF-MUTILATION*
This movie wasn’t bad, but I had some real problems with the way Paul handled Bea’s behavior. Here’s a pro tip for people with partners: if you believe your partner was sexually assaulted or experienced something traumatic, don’t aggressively confront them about it and then pout like a teenager who’s mom just told him he can’t go to the mall with his friends when your partner insists everything is fine. When Bea’s behavior starts getting weird and she doesn’t open up to Paul the way he wants, Paul takes it upon himself to yell at her, grab her and corner her numerous times, confront the man he believes raped her, tries to aggressively initiate sex then yells some more when that gets weird, and eventually resorts to tying her arms and legs to the bed to try and force an explanation out of her.
As if all this weren’t bad enough, the context in which he ties her to their bed is so fucked up I can’t even wrap my mind around it; frankly, this scene almost ruined the entire movie for me. After a heated argument, Bea locks herself into the bathroom. Paul decided kicking the door in would be a swell idea and when he does, he finds Bea stabbing herself in the vagina, blood all over the place. He stops her and and she tries to run away. Here’s another tip for partnered folks: if you see your partner engaging in self mutilation and upon seeing you, they run away, don’t grab them and forcefully tie them to the bed. Just don’t do it. Get help (and yes, I understand the filmmakers used the old “no cell reception, totally isolated” trope to try and justify this behavior, but what Paul does just isn’t justifiable).
After Paul has his bloodied, mutilated wife tied to the bed by her wrists and ankles, he tries to bring her back to “normalcy” by, and I shit you not, putting his fingers in her injured vagina to initiate sex .
Let me say that again just to drive my point home: Paul, after seeing Bea engaging in self-mutilation directed at her genitals, ties her to the bed and fingers her in the exact area she was just stabbing herself in. I just…I can’t even. Where do I even begin?
I understand what the filmmakers were trying to convey, I think (happy couple are torn apart by supernatural forces) but the relationship between Paul and Bea was just too damn problematic to get that across. Paul reacts to the slightest changes in his wife’s behavior with suspicion (directed at Bea), accusations, and aggression. He physically assaults her and eventually rapes her (because tying your spouse up to limit their movement and initiating sex without their consent is rape, friends). Nothing about his actions tell me he’s a good partner or that I should feel bad for the disintegration of their marriage. The abuse really took me out of the plot and toward the end, I was honestly a little glad to be rid of Paul.
I think we can do better than this. We can convey conflict, mystery, and suspense within a marriage without domestic abuse and sexual assault. It can be done. If these elements weren’t in this film, if Paul was portrayed as a sensitive, supportive partner truly concerned with Bea’s well-being, this movie could have knocked it out of the park.
*It doesn’t explicitly say in the film that Bea and Paul don’t know each other that well, but Michael and I theorized that they knew each other maybe six months tops before getting married based on the fact that their understanding of each other is so poor; they lack the most fundamental knowledge about each other, like if the other person wants kids. Maybe it was just crappy chemistry between the actors?