Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Lindy Booth, Nick Cornish, Roy Scheider, Tia Carrere, Daryl Hannah, Wes Ramsey, Eric Roberts
Written & Directed by Philip Leftfield
Dark Honeymoon straddles the fine line between horror movie, crime noir, black comedy, and Lifetime Network original thriller with all the success of Boxing Helena trying to ride a mechanical bull. As a thriller it’s sorely lacking in the suspense department, as a crime mystery there’s little intrigue, as a dark comedy it isn’t all that funny, as a drama it’s mostly tepid, and as a horror movie, well, there are a few bloody stabbings and a crucifixion. This is a movie that hits a whole bunch of notes but rarely ever the right ones, grows increasingly sluggish the longer it goes on, and is shot with the veneer of a made-for-Canadian television production. Given about 20 different names are listed in varying producer credits I can’t help but wonder if this low budget production was financed by passing a hat around.
Definitely an oddly structured film, almost a series of interwoven vignettes, disjointed to say the least, working it’s way backwards flashbacks-style after opening with the world’s dumbest man getting arrested with the corpse of Roy Scheider’s stand-in in his trunk with more dead bodies to be discovered in the hotel room he’d just stayed at on his honeymoon with his now missing wife.
Paul and Kathryn’s whirlwind relationship leads to a quicky marriage. How whirlwind? He seems to know next to nothing about this woman he just married. Not until their honeymoon does he even start asking her about her parents. “Kinda weird we never talked about this stuff before,” he notes. Kinda stupid too, moron.
Then Kathryn begins acting strangely, as in mentally unbalanced. Amongst other things, she didn’t invite any of her friends or family to their wedding, she claims to be a virgin who refuses to consummate their marriage until they arrive at the sleepy Oregon coast hotel for their honeymoon, she gets annoyed when he attempts to carry her across the threshold because she deems it bad luck, she’s into cutting herself with razors, she occasionally goes off on religious tirades, and she keeps changing the details about her past. There’s more where that came from, including a string of murdered hotels guests, yet the majority of the time Paul appears stupendously oblivious that all is not well with his bride. Dimwitted and pussywhipped is no way to go through life.
Nick Cornish as Paul is easily the film’s weakest link acting-wise which is especially problematic since he’s the main character and gets the most screen time. The only thing that registers with his character is that he is naive to the point of being an imbecile. A dolt, if you will.
Lindy Booth of Cry Wolf and the Dawn of the Dead remake (her red hair teetering on bright orange here) gives a suitably off-key performance that ranges from under-to-overacting; she also seems to be a victim of the schizo tone. I got the feeling even she wasn’t entirely sure how she was supposed to be playing certain scenes.
IMDB lists the writer/director as David O’Malley. The opening credits list a Philip Leftfield as the writer/director. Not sure why O’Malley chose to use a pseudonym though “Leftfield” is a very fitting fake name given the climactic plot twist is totally out of left field. When the closing credits rolled I was left deeply annoyed having realized that the movie I’d just watched existed solely to rip-off The Usual Suspects, quite improbably I might add. Weak.
The main reason I gave Dark Honeymoon a look in the first place was the eclectic cast. Look at the box art and see the names and faces being used to sell it. Take Lindy Booth out of the line-up and from left-to-right you’d have the descending order of name actors’ screen time.
The late Roy Scheider has the biggest role of the four as the ever friendly, always helpful, hotel manager. A little depressing to think this nothing-to-it role could be the final acting credit of Scheider’s career.
Tia Carrere turns up briefly as a pot-smoking, bisexual opera singer staying at the hotel who attempts to seduce both numbnuts and his crazy wife. Don’t be fooled by that last sentence into thinking any of it is as sexy or fun to watch as it sounds.
Daryl Hannah cameos as one half of an unmarried couple that dines with the newlyweds. Their dissing of the institution of marriage offends Kathryn’s religious sensibilities. Then Hannah is killed off – off-camera, no less.
I don’t think Eric Roberts even bothered to turn off his car’s motor before collecting his paycheck in what amounted to little more than a walk-on as an obnoxious motormouthed tourist who gets knifed standing at a gas station urinal in the film’s opening minutes. His appearance is easily the movie’s highlight because he seemed to be adlibbing his lines, few of which made much sense to anyone but him, and then he was dead. The most entertainingly pointless two-minutes in a mostly pointless movie.
1 1/2 out of 5