This movie is punk as f**k. Like punk, it has a rough execution with jagged edges meant to be louder and faster than the polished output of the mainstream. It has greased laser pacing, building its world in a flash and getting to the goods right away. The non-professional vigor brought by the actors is reminiscent of 1960s underground cinema and 70s grindhouse productions. The bare bone production values echo Warhol’s Lonesome Cowboys and the Findleys’ Shriek of the Mutilated, both in look and spirit. Beginning with the incredible claymation opening credit sequence, there is a handmade feeling to everything that throbs with energy.
This raw look doesn’t hide the gorgeous composition of the shots. The way the filmmaker weaves her subjects into the breathtaking natural landscapes shows a far more mature eye than her years accounts for. That such exquisite visuals are used in a low-fi cult horror rampage only increases the pleasure. It is almost like a gallery of beautiful paintings that catch fire one by one. All of this is backed by an excellent score composed by Max Graham. The primo selection of band music also works wonderfully, sustaining the momentum. All of this is made possible by Fast’s razor-sharp editing. Her use of jump cuts and her instincts on wild timing create many brilliant flashes of inspiration. It makes the jagged work all the more potent, like an old-school underground comix panel.
“…high-octane outlaw she-horror…”
The screenplay, which Fast wrote with Emmitt Roiko, skews punk and exposes the darkness beneath social structures; in this case, an isolationist female utopia. There are clever references to bee culture by the Freemasons that set up the hive symbolism of the cult. There are also more subtle motifs throughout, including one involving tattoos. While it definitely has exploitable horror elements, Honeycomb has higher ambitions in its exploration of female freedoms. The questions raised on whether freedom is achieved if you are in servitude in order to maintain it are not easily answered.
The mysterious ending reflects this ambiguity perfectly. There is a delightful bong hit blooper reel buffet post-credits for the herbally inclined. In fact, you would be wise to catch a buzz before viewing, as it’ll make the experience all the sweeter. Avalon Fast’s debut shows why independent film will remain a vibrant source for exciting cinema made outside the system. She is a visionary new addition to the wave that is the female director revolution of the 21st century. Honeycomb is a high-octane outlaw she-horror that stings hard.
Honeycomb screened at the 2022 Slamdance Film Festival.
"…a gallery of beautiful paintings that catch fire..."