The Creature: So…this movie happened.
Figuring out how and why it was made is pretty easy. On New Year’s Day 2022, the original ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ book by A.A. Milne entered the public domain which entails it becoming fair game for anybody to use and adapt to their heart’s content. Soon after enters director/writer Rhys Frake-Waterfield who decided that he can pull off making a horror adaptation of the story shortly after its announcement and finished it quickly enough to have an early 2023 release. Of course, while Disney’s version is the most well known and will be under their copyright for a long time, the movie drew quite the controversy by having the beloved characters turned evil which has happened before (and was met with equal outrage) with the original Silent Night Deadly Night for Santa Claus back in 1984, and that attempt of a Disneyland horror movie Escape From Tomorrow in 2013. Given its public domain status, Disney can’t really do anything about it (much to the disappoint of many) so it’s able to still exist in its entirety.
Jarvisrama99: …as much as I hated this…it was at least a little bit more competitively made than Verotika…
I had managed…up to this month… avoid this like the plague. I wasn’t interested in it, had no plans on seeing it, but I did agree to watch it for this year’s Halloween crossover after you shared your thoughts on covering it when it was originally released…still didn’t make me any excited for it…and still dreading it after finally seeing it.
Honestly, what do you want me to say about this? “Oh my goodness, it’s a children’s icon reimagined as a horror icon!” Dude, I know. I’ve seen all the responses people have had online for months, how they’ve blown this up to such ridiculous proportions when it first came out and will probably continue to do so with every other movie Waterfield continues to make. Not just the sequel to this, but his plans for a Bambi and Peter Pan horror movie as well. Yeah, he’s clearly got a theme he wants to be used for any property he’s legally allowed to make, especially since before this film he had a hand in making horror themed takes on The Giving Tree and an apparent Easter Bunny horror film.
And honestly, if that’s what the dude wants to do, good on him. I know he happily screenshot someone’s comment “your movie is ruining our childhoods” onto his social media replying, “that’s what I’m trying to do, ruin everyone’s childhood”, which I’m pretty sure he was joking. You’re allowed to make these sorts of works when it’s available to anyone, and it’s clear he’s happily able to do it and wants to continue to do more of it, alright. Wishing him the best…I won’t be seeing them, as I didn’t enjoy this film and have no interest in seeing more from him, but whatever he does hopefully he gets to branch out and try out different stuff that isn’t just “an iconic kids’ property you recognize + horror”.
The Creature: It’s quite the similar treatment to what was popular with Creepypastas. Many of them consist of “Lost Episodes” of beloved television shows like ‘Squidward’s Suicide’ and ‘Dead Bart’ or original ideas like “Cupcakes’ that try to combine those two elements together which often ended with pretty ridiculous results that I generally try to ignore myself as well. But of course, this example was something that was hard to ignore given that it’s Winnie the Pooh at the center of it all.
Jarvisrama99: …I guess let’s actually get into this.
The Creature: Might as well.
Jarvisrama99: For this iteration, Christopher Robin as a child meets the residents of the 100 Acre Wood: Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, and Eeyore. He spends much of his youth growing up with them until he leaves for college. Now, because of him becoming the person they relied on to gather food for them, the residents can’t manage to survive the winter on their own. As a last minute resort, they turn and end up killing Eeyore to survive. Angry by their abandonment by Christopher Robin and what they’ve become, they renounce their abilities to talk and to not accept anything from mankind ever again…despite them wearing human clothing, driving their vehicles, using their tools to murder other human beings, living in miniature campers in the woods, using sledgehammers as weapons, rope, metal hooks, chains and all sorts of devices to tie people up-do you see how that sort of makes their decision sound a bit contradictory? Because God knows it is with how it’s done here.
Any who, Christopher Robin returns to the woods with his new fiancé Mary whom he wants to meet his old childhood friends. This doesn’t end up going well as upon their arrival, Piglet murders Mary immediately and Pooh and Piglet make Christopher their prisoner.
…and then the movie proceeds to focus on a bunch of female university students who become the actual focus of the story. They don’t know Christopher or Mary, which might’ve made sense since they’re all college age. But no, no connection, just different main characters. Yeah, despite everything set up to be a pretty straightforward revenge story about these woodland creatures wanting revenge on Christopher Robin for abandoning them…we instead get these guys going around murdering women in horrific manners. And I do mean horrific.
Look, as someone who’s seen their fair share of horror movies, violence towards men and women is pretty much expected with how the different genres have evolved over the years. For the life of me, I can’t get into the torture porn genre that while the film didn’t introduce, Saw and its later installments got to be pretty mainstream. Which, okay, if you want to do that go ahead. But this movie clearly has it so they want to show how Winnie the Pooh and Piglet just murdering women in the most horrific ways imaginable. Women get their heads run over by cars, get shoved into woodchippers, have their heads bashed in with sledgehammers, decapitated, mauled, stabbed in the mouth with a knife, have their bodies stripped of their meat, it’s stuff I’ve seen in other movies. But the way this movie happily lingers on these shots a bit too long with the guy in the Pooh mask licking his lips…yeah, this movie made me feel uncomfortable watching this, and not because of the films in universe killers. But rather the filmmakers enjoying showcasing these women get murdered despite none of them deserving this.
The Creature: I’m not really too surprised at taking random cannon fodder for the movie to get a decent kill count for the viewers to enjoy but it is in pretty poor taste in singling the women out for the kills only. Especially given the majority of the cast is female and Christopher Robin is one of the few male characters. At least if you’re watching a different movie than this with a high body count, they tend to not spare anyone and go all out with it.
Jarvisrama99: Now hearing that, you’d probably expect Christopher Robin to get a much worse treatment…he doesn’t. He’s tied up, whipped, and showered in the organs of I’m assuming is Mary. Which yes, those are all terrible and horrific…but why are they taking out all these aggressive murder on women as opposed to the guy who made you this way in the first place?
The Creature: I’d argue that they would leave Christopher Robin to suffer throughout the film as their means of getting revenge on him for believing he abandoned them all those years ago. Leaving him just tied up with almost nothing ever happening to him though pretty much contradicts that idea as Pooh and Piglet go after other people who are in or around the 100 Acre Wood. While they established the notion of them not trusting Humans anymore is reasonable, it still becomes a bit pointless when they still have Christopher Robin alive.
Jarvisrama99: So, what about the four main female characters? What’s going on with them? Outside Maria, who’s trying to recover from an incident when she was stalked by a guy who broke into her house, nothing really is going on with the other characters. All are shallow and never are given time to be developed or get for you to like them. They’re literally just here for the film to have a large kill count. Well, when they’re not having their tits being displayed for a quick scene…yeah it’s that sort of horror movie.
The Creature: Again, not surprising they’d pull this sort of thing for the viewers’ attention. A lot of horror movies lately have tried to pull something similar to this where we don’t get to know anything about them or we think they’re obnoxious to the point of rooting for the villain. When you try to do something like this, you miss the whole point of the genre where we sympathize with them in their plight and get scared wondering what will happen to them.
Jarvisrama99: I guess we can discuss the film’s main killers, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. Owl and Rabbit outside of being mentioned in the opening prologue never show up in the movie, which I’m assuming they didn’t have enough in the budget to make a rabbit or owl mask, but honestly, they probably wouldn’t be doing much different if they were in this. The idea for this movie is that they’re not just animals that can talk but anthropomorphic creatures, working around having Pooh and Piglet wearing human clothing.
The masks look…fine, the Pooh mask looks like they took the time to craft and give it a distinctive look. Piglet’s just looks like a standard boar pig mask, nothing creative or distinctive.
The Creature: I do get the idea for them to be anthropomorphic since it would go along well with how they were originally imagined in the books so I’m not surprised by that. Pooh’s design is easily the more creative of the two since he has a very specific look which is a bit similar to Disney’s design but has some alterations to stand out. For Piglet though, I think I have seen a mask like that years ago at a Halloween store so it’s not that unique. They could have tried to alter the appearance similar to Pooh with a resemblance to the Disney version.
As for Owl and Rabbit, I’m expecting them to show up in the sequel.
Jarvisrama99: The gore effects look competent, there was a decent amount of money clearly put into these kills and although I wasn’t at all crazy for them and the tone the movie had, thought they were suitable.
The location of the film was well used. They shot the film in the same woods that inspired the A.A. Milne books (which feels like an edge lord move if I’m being honest). The locations do help give the movie an atmospheric vibe, especially with some of the night sequences.
The VFX…aren’t the best, whether it’s chunky blood being spat out of the woodchipper or the bizarre hornets that Pooh can summon at random throughout the film and are never really explained. The practical stuff actually looks pretty decent, whereas I think the VFX should’ve gotten more care and attention.
The Creature: Given it’s low budget, it’s to be expected that the VFX could use some work while the practical stuff will stand out. Most of the budget would obviously go into the gore effects and some of the costume design (specifically for Pooh) and is another big draw for the audience to watch the movie. Location wise, it’s no surprise they’d go the same inspiration for the stories to shoot the movie which does help with the atmosphere but does feel like a dick move to do when you’re portraying it like this.
Jarvisrama99: …Look, I wasn’t at all crazy for this film. I knew the gimmick was to make this children’s icon and turn it on it’s head was going to offend people, and even then knowing it was going for that tone, having the film has this vibe where they’re happily showcasing these women get horrifically murdered and the filmmakers happily lingering on it, the film having a mean spirited vibe throughout after the first kill, and nobody feeling like actually characters, it was frustrating experience. I don’t like these sorts of movies, I really didn’t like this one, and have no plans or desires to ever revisit it again anytime soon or down the road. I am not going to watch the sequel or anything else from Waterfield, I just don’t want to experience this sort of film again. It felt dull, I felt disgusted watching it…got really not much else to say.
The Creature: I thought it was boring to be honest. I also knew exactly what to expect going into this and I was not impressed with it at all while watching it. I think the only reason people will watch this is solely because of the fact it’s Winnie the Pooh as a horror character or to watch to be spiteful towards Disney. It definitely is a movie that you’d probably only see once, and then never revisit it again that will probably end up being forgetting over time.
Plus, if you weren’t a fan of this one, you probably will not be a fan of the recent film that did the same approach with The Grinch.