The Honeymoon Phase is a new sci-fi thriller based on the premise of, “What if someone’s honeymoon went wrong?” Taking inspiration from Black Mirror, particularly the episode Hang The DJ, The Honeymoon Phase never gives any illusion that it wants you asking what will happen, but how it will happen. Within that framework, the film kept me constantly engaged through my confusion on how it was going to end. But for every interesting twist or red herring, there was a glaring plot convenience or hole that took me out of the story. The film follows Eve (Chloe Carroll) and her partner Tom (Jim Schubin), as they undergo a 30-day scientific experiment in which they are given room and board, $50,000, and a month alone together.
One of the most glaring plot holes was how Eve became 5-6 months pregnant in less than a month. I understand that one month was not enough to recognize that the character was pregnant visibly, but why fake human biology in such a glaring way? It happened because the plot needed it to, and the writer apparently wasn’t bothered that the reality of the story made no sense. There were also a number of smaller frustrating moments, such as when someone was slashed across their torso, and only their arm was cut.
There was also a safe word introduced if either partner felt uncomfortable and wanted out. This safeword was used only twice throughout the runtime of The Honeymoon Phase, and far after things became more than uncomfortable for the couple. Similarly, there was a moment in which Tom seemingly forget what the safeword means, yet a couple of scenes later, he uses it to try and gain back Eve’s trust. These contradictory and frustrating moments were rampant throughout, leaving me yelling at the screen half the time and on the edge of my seat the rest.
“…they undergo a 30-day scientific experiment in which they would be given room and board, $50,000, and a month alone together.”
There were also some jarring artistic choices, such as distracting camerawork during intimate moments and a soundtrack that was constantly telegraphing the emotions of the moment. These undercut the serious tone the movie was going for, making the whole experience more schlocky than it should have been.
At the end of the day, these smaller issues would only nominally distract from a powerful story. But The Honeymoon Phase has nothing of worth to say. It depicts abuse, manipulation, and interesting science fiction concepts but doesn’t do anything with them other than use these powerful themes to create an arbitrary twist ending. It’s shock for the sake of it, made worse because writer-director Phillip G. Carroll Jr. is exploiting subjects that should not be taken lightly.
While this was a thrilling and engaging ride, it was an ultimately nonsensical and confusing one. There were some interesting concepts in here that were undermined by a lot of narrative and technical problems. In conclusion, The Honeymoon Phase never rose above being a bargain bin Black Mirror.
"…kept me constantly engaged through my confusion..."