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Honeydew Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Signature Entertainment


Directed by Devereux Milburn
Written by Devereux Milburn and Dan Kennedy
2020, 106 minutes, Not Yet Rated
UK FrightFest Premiere on 22nd October 2020

Sawyer Spielberg as Sam
Malin Barr as Rylie
Barbara Kingsley as Karen
Jamie Bradley as Gunni


What do we talk about when we talk about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre? A title synonymous with onscreen violence and one of the most notorious horror films of all time, there's barely any actual bloodshed in Tobe Hooper's backwoods classic. This misunderstanding is why none of the ever-escalating sequels have lived up to that original picture – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was never really about the gore or the violence. At its heart, it's a film about madness; a gruelling sensory nightmare.

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And it's this vein of terror that Devereux Milburn's Honeydew taps into. After seeking shelter at the home of an old woman and her weird son, bickering couple Sam (Sawyer Spielberg – son of you-know-who) and Rylie (Malin Barr) begin to experience horrific hallucinations and strange cravings. Who will survive, and what will be left of their minds?

What Karen and son Gunni lack in stature, they make up for with a palpable sense of menace; that Sam and Rylie don't take one look and immediately set off running in the opposite direction defies belief. They only have themselves to blame, loading themselves up with hallucinogens by wolfing down the old woman's loaded plates of hot food. It's as much Hansel & Gretel as it is The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.It's a white Get Out crossed with the creepy old people shenanigans of The VisitFrom black comedy to horror to trippy arthouse, it bends genres like a Ben Wheatley picture.

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No power tools are required to build Honeydew's permeating sense of dread. This, Milburn accomplishes through the gloomy, foreboding cinematography and the incredible score by John Mehrmann. Part ASMR video, part jangly semi-experimental nightmare, the sound work does an incredibly efficient job of building the film's mood and atmosphere.

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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 – more because of his uncanny resemblence to Domnhall Gleeson than anything – 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.

An impressive feature debut for director and actor alike, Honeydew is one of the more original backwoods horror films in recent years. It's a trip.


Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer - UK
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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