THE HONEYMOON PHASE (2019)
Directed by Phillip G. Carroll Jr.
Written by Phillip G. Carroll Jr.
Starring François Chau, Tara Westwood, Chloe Carroll, Jim Schubin, Ione Butler, Mike Sutton, Linda Horwatt , Michael Wetherbee, Daniel Fakih, Brenda Crawley, Kayla Anthony
Find out more about this film here!!
Playing like a cross between an episode of BLACK MIRROR and the old HBO series THE HITCHHIKER, THE HONEYMOON PHASE has a fun concept that overstays its welcome and doesn’t feel like it knows how to come to a proper ending.
The Director (LOST’s Francis Chau) has been fascinated with the Honeymoon Phase in relationships and why that feeling fades over time. So he chooses a group of couples to be locked in a home and forced to live with one another for a month. Happy newlyweds Eve (Chloe Carroll) and Tom (Jim Schubin) think that will be a piece of cake and volunteer for the program looking forward to using the large monetary payoff to start their future together. At first, everything seems ideal, but Eve begins to notice small differences in Tom almost immediately after the lockdown. This leads to a full on battle of the sexes as the two begin give into subtle pressures whispered in the walls of the home which threaten to crumble their marriage to dust.
Almost immediately, THE HONEYMOON PHASE made me snicker. The film was made pre-pandemic, so one month locked away with your significant other in a small place must have seemed like a long time. Now, post-pandemic, that feels like chump change given that some have been locked down with their partners for six months now. Still, THE HONEYMOON PHASE has that future just a few years away feel that is common in the bulk of the BLACK MIRROR episodes. Processed foods are provided to the couple. Their brains are scanned throughout the day to monitor their feelings and responses to the lockdown. And there is a weird otherworldly/dream-like vibe suggesting everything that is occurring is all a simulation. These bits are enough intrigue to keep THE HONEYMOON PHASE interesting. The film does provide a very subtle slide from “blissful newlywed-dom” to “I hate your guts-dom,” marking significant small changes in both participants as they notice things they never had noticed before in their partners. I think those in relationships might find this film amusing due to this realistic shift in the way relationships deteriorate over time.
There is a lot of sex in THE HONEYMOON PHASE and that seems to be a part of the whole divide between Eve and Tom. That’s the reason why I mentioned THE HITCHHIKER above as each episode of the HBO series featured a prominent sex scene and a sensuality to the way they told their horror tales. Even at the beginning, when Eve and Tom are asked what is the difference between the new and old couples, Eve responds, “Sex.” In the end, this does prove to be the clue and inciting moment of the couple’s division.
That said, when all secrets are revealed in the latter portions of THE HONEYMOON PHASE, things spiral out of control in a pretty ridiculous fashion. When you’ve got a waify Eve blasting away at guards with a machine gun, your relationship-centric sci fi horror film has taken a turn for the worse. The ending of THE HONEYMOON PHASE leads to all kinds of weird developments that take the film completely off its initial course and what is intended to be a TWILIGHT ZONE reveal comes a little too far out of left field to be swallowed.
The acting is decent. Chloe Carroll’s Eve is enchanting and Jim Schubin’s Tom is charming. They make for an interesting couple to follow, but I think the manipulation of the latter part of the story was twisted a bit too much in order to deliver shocks rather. I would have preferred a conclusion that had more to do with the answer to the question posed at the beginning about what destroys relationships through time. Instead, we get machine guns, armed guards, and multiple murders as if this were an 80’s Schwarzenegger flick.