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Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 ★★★★



Digital Release: 28th June 2024

Director: Rhys Frake-Waterfield

Cast: Scott Chambers, Ryan Oliva, Marcus Massey, Simon Callow, Tallulah Evans

The release of the first Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey offered a truly tumultuous rehash of public domain IP genre filmmaking, exposing everything that is wrong with the current horror climate. A farcical, innately boring and unintelligent use of public domain IP or retelling of any kind. Despite all its borderline sinful, cinematic flaws and lacklustre effort, the first Blood and Honey still garnered over two million dollars in box office gross. Sending a miniature shockwave through the filmic landscape, Rhys Frake-Waterfield and the team behind the first installation developed somewhat a cult status in the horror community — and not all within good reason.

Frake-Waterfield is now back. This time with an estimated million pound budget, delivering the antithesis of its predecessor. Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 is a remarkable achievement in unhinged, raving mad formalism, with an additional sense of belonging, direction and to some extent, emotional filmmaking that the first film was entirely lacking. With a new (thank God) Christopher Robin, played by producer and editor Scott Chambers, Christopher Robin — who now works as a nurse for the HNS (you have to just run with it) — is struggling with PTSD. He seeks console in his partner, played remarkably straight by Tallulah Evans, his therapist and his family. The blurred lines between reality, internal dialogue and subconscious are presented with an emotional understanding that took me entirely by surprise. Blood and Honey 2 makes the most of embedding relationships between Christopher and his close relatives and partners, making the presentation of his narrative and physiological disturbances truly and shockingly an empathetic one.

A so-called “destructive rage” has grown within Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Owl and Tigger who are all utterly vicious and maniacal in their return. Slaughtering and disposing of most of the on-screen characters in the most brutal fashions. With callbacks to the wonderfully camp and sickening, Terrifier 2 and more recently Five Nights at Freddy’s, Blood and Honey 2 borderline takes this further, bathing in utter despair and depravity. Frake-Waterfield makes the absolute most of his million pound budget, by churning out an endless supply of gloriously gory practical violence and effects mixed with kinetic, frantic formalism. Never would I have thought that Blood and Honey 2 would have such great composition, sound design or editing, but here we are and its remarkably impressive for what it is. From Tigger scything and flailing through bloody feathers and guts, in one of the most violent sequences I’ve seen all year, too bear traps, domestic household items ending up in places you would never have expected, all the way through to the physicality of Pooh and Tigger, and the terrifying aerial violence and digital manoeuvres of Owl, Blood and Honey 2 offers a truly dynamic range of frenzied chaos.

Finally, it is actually within its emotional beats and writing that Blood and Honey 2 manages to avoid the deplorable nature and seismic abhorrence of its predecessor. Even as a categoric despiser of the first film, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 will remain one of the wildly enjoyable genre experiences of the year.

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