DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE HONEYMOON (director/writer: Rob Rowatt; cinematographer: Rob Rowatt; editor: Rob Rowatt; music:  Oliver Heinrich; cast: Laura Keightley (Nicole), Max Ingrao (Mark), Anne Shepherd (Sissy), Matt Trueman (Ranger), Logan Brown (Ferris), David Squires (Clay), Barry Lavender (Pa), Katy Hedalen (Ranger's Wife); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Rob Rowatt; Lakefield Pictures; 2014-Canada)

"It's about a young newlywed couple on a canoe trip honeymoon in the wilderness that suddenly turns deadly."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

First-time director Rob Rowatt writes, directs, edits, photographs and produces this unreleased cabin-in-the-woods modern-day horror flick. The film was shot on location in Ontario, Canada. It's about a young newlywed couple on a canoe trip honeymoon in the wilderness that suddenly turns deadly, as they encounter dangerous psychopath hillbillies and must do all they can to survive their attack. Though competently made, relatively well acted and with pleasing landscape visuals, it's a nasty little thriller that might be too intense and unpleasant to watch for a wide audience.

The newlyweds, Mark (Max Ingrao) and Nicole (Laura Keightley), leave the city to trek to a remote wilderness spot Mark knew as a 10-year-old. It's the same spot Mark reveals to his wife where he watched a friend get mauled to death by a bear. While the happy couple picnic after their canoe trip on a secluded lake, trespassing on cabin property, Nicole witnesses through her binoculars three men slitting the throat of another in the woods, in an apparent drug deal gone bad, and in a panic the couple flee when spotted. Mark is shot and left for dead and Nicole is taken captive and locked in a dingy room in the hideaway shack of the killers. The gang leader is the sicko elderly redneck father Harley (Barry Lavender), who plans on making Nicole his sex slave since she reminds him of one of his ex wives.  His violent son Clay (David Squires) and his moronic video playing son Ferris (Logan Brown) also want Nicole, but bow to the wishes of the patriarch.

Before encountering the nutso drug dealing wilderness boys and losing her cell phone, Nicole sent out a garbled distress call to the local park ranger (Matt Trueman). He goes out on the lake to find them and discovers enough evidence for foul play, which he calls in to his wife (Katy Hedalen) at the radio station.  Meanwhile the gang tries covering their crime tracks, and in the process discover that Mark is not dead and the park ranger is tracking them.

A cat-and mouse game is seriously played out between the good guys and the bad guys, which keeps the action lively. But too many things never make sense or have much of an appeal for my tastes. For example, it certainly might be possible but I don't understand the hubby taking a honeymoon trip to a place with such bad memories. In any case, the low-budget thriller visually looks good and might find viewers taken with Lavender's sinister sweet talking camp performance as a psycho. But it doesn't measure up to Deliverance (1972) and its gripping story, which got me to really care about those attacked. That's the film The Honeymoon channels, as it takes its city folk protagonists on a dangerous trip into hillbilly wilderness turf and demands you watch all the ugliness until the evil misfits get their comeuppance.

REVIEWED ON 9/18/2014       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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