Winnie The Pooh: Blood And Honey II review | A major improvement over the first one

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Director Rhys Frake-Waterfield tries to repeat the success of his first Winnie The Pooh slasher. Here’s our Winnie The Pooh: Blood & Honey II review. 

Winnie The Pooh: Blood And Honey was a surprise hit in 2023, one that no saw coming in a million years. Despite abysmal reviews (the film has a three percent critic score on Rotten Tomatoes) the low-budget British slasher scared up an impressive $5m at the international box office, despite a budget of $100 000. Granted, the film was unpolished, goofy, crude and a little too on the nose, but its success immediately got a sequel greenlit and rushed into production. 

Which brings us to Winnie The Pooh: Blood And Honey II. The sequel has had a much bigger budget this time around and it’s one of the first things you’ll notice. The production value is higher and feels a little more glossy. It’s still no Hereditary; this is still extreme horror done with a shoestring budget, with corny dialogue, over-the-top kills and clunky acting, but Blood And Honey II is still a major improvement over the first. 

Here’s what you need to know about the plot in case you’ve successfully erased the first film from memory: Christopher Robin is thoroughly traumatised (as you would be) after the events of the first film. The entire town has turned against him, thinking he committed the grisly murders in the Hundred Acre Wood, but little does Christopher know that his old animal buddies are also angry at him for revealing their existence and are coming after him, massacring their way through town. 

winnie the pooh blood and honey 2
Credit: Altitude Films

There’s a surprising meta element to Blood And Honey II. Due to some changes in the cast, including producer Scott Chambers taking on the role of Christopher, the first Blood And Honey turns out to be a slasher film based on Christopher’s bloody experiences in the Hundred Acre Wood. It’s mostly to explain why people suddenly look different in this one and only comes into play as a character is said to be obsessed with the film. It makes no sense or difference to anything, but it also represents a playfulness that’s at the heart of Blood And Honey II. 

Blood And Honey II retains the scrappy feeling of the first film, but here, somehow, it works in its favour. Frake-Waterfield is more confident behind the camera, directing the story with gusto. Blood And Honey II once again veers on being too ridiculous for the horror to be effective, but that’s to be expected in a film about a murderous bear based on a childhood favourite. 

Read more: Poohniverse: Monsters Assemble | Team-up film set for release in 2025 from the makers of Winnie The Pooh: Blood And Honey

Where the film lost me was when things started to make less sense. All of a sudden Owl is able to puke acidic vomit and the mostly silent Pooh and Tigger begin to call every woman on screen a bitch. We’re all for character development, but such a sudden turn to pure misogyny feels uncomfortable. 

The habitants of the Hundred Acre Wood are also far scarier when they don’t talk. Owl seems particularly chatty, but every time the monstrous beings open their mouths, some of the terror fades away and Blood And Honey II swerves into a comedy. The film’s nudity also feels gratuitous, especially as it’s topless women who meet their maker in increasingly grisly ways. 

But if we laughed at Blood And Honey, we’re now laughing with Blood And Honey II. Frake-Waterfield seems to be in on the joke this time around, and the film has a more mischievous tone. It also follows a more traditional horror blueprint, which gives it a bit more structure and brings order to what is a pretty chaotic premise. The mystery at its heart – the disappearance of Christopher’s little brother Billy when they were young – feels lost in the midst of the all the campy bloodletting. On paper, it’s compelling but Christopher’s trauma and search for his long-lost brother is too similar to other, far better films we’ve seen before and it’s simply not strong enough to make us care.

The real measuring stick here is the gore, and there’s a lot of it. Blood And Honey II is brutal in all the right ways and that makes up for a lot of the elements that don’t work. Still, there’s more here that doesn’t work than does. Not only are all the characters paper thin, they’re only there to die almost immediately after being introduced. Frake-Waterfield’s film is all blood and spectacle but it lacks an emotional core that would ultimately elevate it from trashy B-movie to a proper good horror. Blood And Honey II isn’t great by the usual standards, but I truly applaud the improvements Frake-Waterfield and his team have made to this bonkers slasher sequel. 

Now, onto the Poohniverse!

Winnie The Pooh: Blood & Honey II is in cinemas 7th June. 

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