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‘Honeydew’ is a deranged vegan horror film starring Steven Spielberg’s son

WWhat’s the worst fate that can happen to a vegan? You can guess what a horror movie might imply, although Honeydew traces a path disorienting enough to hide its true and horrible destination. Writer / director Devereux Milburn’s feature debut is a thriller with an appetite for the macabre, not to mention a thing or two to say about venturing into the middle of nowhere – and taking a mouthful of pieces that come from unknown origins.

VOD premiere on April 13 Honeydew begins with a multitude of mind-boggling sights and sounds, including a veiled older woman at a burial in a rural field, a heavy man in a balaclava grabbing and stripping a wild animal, and a narration in which a woman recites an eccentric religious prayer: don’t you know that your bodies are temples of the holy spirit? Who is in you. Who you have received from God. You are not yours. You were bought at a price.

What all this means is far from clear at first, and Milburn continues to cause confusion once his attention turns to graduate student Riley (Malin Barr) reading in his car about sordico, a poisonous spore. which infected the New England wheat crops, ultimately driving the animals which consumed them mad before killing them completely. At the same time, her actor boyfriend Sam (Sawyer Spielberg) is in a bathroom rehearsing lines from a script – an introductory sequence that Milburn dramatizes through hectic cross screens, split screens and multiple sources of dialogue which destabilize as much as they clarify. .

Spielberg is the son of the legendary director, and his heartbreaking circumstances will eventually echo those of a famous archaeologist from The Raiders of the Lost Ark. Again, HoneydewThe real inspirations from are closer to backwoods nightmares like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Wrong turn.

Riley is a vegan who convinced Sam to eat the same way and they are on a camping trip who, after meeting a strange mute cyclist (Joshua Patrick Dudley), leads them to a distant field. After satisfying sex, they are visited by a white-bearded man named Eulis (Stephen D’Ambrose) who informs them that they are on a piece of his 500-acre estate and need to move quickly. This turn of events is as shocking to Riley and Sam as it is to us, and Barr and Spielberg capture the piquancy and bickering of people who have just come out of the honeymoon phase of their relationship and who are now comfortable with. pull and push each other. To make matters worse, the pair discover that their car’s battery is dead, forcing them to scour the dark with only their phone’s flashlights as a guide.

Milburn bifurcates his screen in sharp lines, uses whiplash camera movements, and embellishes his unexpected with unsettling noises, all creating an air of overwhelming, as if the film itself is infected with a strange mental affliction. Honeydew generates suspense through schizoid formal means, surprising via a range of editorial stuff and a soundscape that combines muffled carols, cowbells and xylophone Christmas carols – the latter becoming ubiquitous once Riley and Sam step through a bear trap in the forest (under a buzzing treetop light bulb) and at Karen’s (Barbara Kingsley’s) The old lady’s kind smile is so strange that it immediately marks her as dangerous, but given their desperate situation, the couple have no choice but to accept his help.

Karen’s home is a quaint farmhouse decorated with furniture and appliances from an earlier era, and its radiant layout manages to convince Sam and Riley that they should heed her advice and, instead of calling AAA, waiting for car help from Karen’s close neighbor. In the meantime, Karen insists they stay for dinner, which will also be attended by Gunni (Jamie Bradley), a portly young man with a bandage wrapped around his head (and on his cheek), who is sitting in the room. Karen’s kitchen. old black and white watching table Popeye cartoon sucking lemon slices dipped in sugar, sipping juice through long straws and gurgling like someone with severe head trauma. Gunni is a bewildering presence (to say the least), as is the meal Karen serves for Riley: large pieces of meat sizzling on the stove and freshly baked cupcakes for dessert.

Milburn constantly shakes the nerves with sudden aesthetic twitches and shifts in perspective, which become even more persistent once digestion takes place and Riley and Sam begin to fall into a semi-hallucinatory runaway.

Not wanting to be rude to their hospitable host, Riley and Sam immerse themselves in this food, then – since auto repairs aren’t soon to come – are shown a completely odd basement room (previously inhabited by Gunni) where they can stay overnight. HoneydewThe characters’ s would seem sillier, and its plot more pedestrian, if not for the way Milburn constantly shakes nerves through sudden aesthetic jolts and shifts in perspective, which become even more persistent once digestion takes place and as Riley and Sam begin to fall into a semi-hallucinatory runaway. Whether it’s baked bread (presumably with wheat from once poisonous fields) or something more sinister is almost irrelevant at some point, as the two soon find themselves at the mercy of the with demented ideas. on food and holiness – and also on the continuity of their heritage.

Honeydew may have flesh on her mind, but it’s never too bloody; Milburn keeps his meanest elements off the screen, the better to disturb by suggestion. While the first half of the film maintains the tension through raucous styling, its final passages take a slower approach, with each new horror being allowed to set in – for maximum disgusting power – before another is cast for. raise the bar. This is more true in the material coda, during which the director’s main bombshells are teased to their breaking point, then played out with excruciating deliberation. Even when it’s obvious from what’s around the corner, there is a nauseating nervousness in the filmmaker’s orchestration of his creepy death revelations.

When Sam calls 911 and informs the police that he needs help at a house “between Pleasant Street and Trouble Street”, Honeydew lets slip his playful and deranged sense of humor. For the most part, however, the real unhealthy Milburn movie joke comes down to the idea that you are what you eat – or, at least, that what you devour often has the ability to chase you from your ever loving mind. .

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