Struggling young lovers, Tom and Eve, must endure a 30-day scientific experiment. Room, board, $50,000 and a month alone together in research facility housing. What could possibly go wrong?
All is not as it seems in The Honeymoon Phase. This sci-fi mystery horror stars the talents of François Chau, Chloe Carroll, and Jim Schubin and was written and directed by Phillip G. Carroll Jr. The Honeymoon Phase is a smorgasbord of various genres all rolled into one; horror, sci-fi, romance, drama…a little bit of everything. It’s an experimental film about an experimental study but the thing with experiments is that you don’t always get the results that you were expecting.
In a study meant exclusively for couples in wedlock, Tom and Eve (Schubin and Carrol) sneak their way in as sickly-sweet newlyweds looking to make a little extra bank–sure that they have what it takes to handle a month of wine and sex. Which young couple wouldn’t? It doesn’t take long though for the layers of debauchery and delight to peel away, revealing an ugly, twisted core that is the real heart of this work of art.
The score in the early parts of the film is so ridiculously upbeat that it was almost distracting. I mean, it was superbly composed but was a little too uplifting and joyous—something akin to a Disney film’s happy ever after moment like that slipper sliding onto a foot or everyone in the castle becoming human again…you know what I’m talking about. It really built an ominous air as the chipper beats that start the film steadily take darker tones as does the film’s visual content, later becoming a little mad. I found it rather clever that the score attempted and succeeded in keeping up with the tone of the film throughout its entirety.
The characters left me completely nonplussed. I neither liked nor trusted anyone. Tom and Eve both come across as the bad guy in the first few scenes, as does Chau’s doctor character. It’s all sus. This does give the film a constant air of suspense which I suppose is a plus but The Honeymoon Phase definitely left me with trust issues. It’s hard to put my finger on what exactly it was that I didn’t like as the acting was clearly good, the plot rather intelligent, the setting cool and the story pretty unique. Everything was set up for a killer movie and yet my reaction to the film wasn’t as positive as it should have been considering the whole is meant to be greater than the sum of its parts (Misquoting Aristotle!).
The themes run deep. The obvious initial dig is one at those in the honeymoon phase of their relationships and how they don’t know better. Them youngsters don’t know how that early flame burns out and then yer wiener stops working! Jokes aside, there are some good philosophies that are touched upon—how people change, how love evolves, how expectations can be set too high…how it is both possible to both love your spouse to death yet also, at times, totally want to stab them in the face with a knife or drop a toaster in their bathtub. I’ve personally never had these thoughts though as I am infallible and a perfect husband.
The Honeymoon Phase twists and turns its way through the later acts and has a few surprises that I definitely did not see coming. It feels more like a triple-A production than the indie film that it is, though some of the later action scenes were…questionable. I liked the film—quite a lot actually—but I really disliked the characters. This is the part that puzzles me. Was I not meant to like the characters? Were they written and directed to act in a way that left you melancholy about their survival? Was supposed to be annoyed by Tom’s simp attitude and incel like personality? I thought the pair did a fantastic job in acting out an obnoxious couple I really cared nothing for. If that was the goal, standing ovation.
The Honeymoon Phase is honestly a great (mostly) horror/sci-fi that I would have paid to watch had I not received the film for free. It’s original, fun, well-paced and a great film for young couples looking to see if a long-term commitment is the right choice for them. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Trailer, poster, and links below.
Apple TV (includes exclusive HD iTunes extras): https://apple.co/
Amazon Prime Video: https://www.amazon.com/
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