Just how much do you trust your partner? How confident are you that, if forced to live together 24/7 under observation, your relationship could continue to flourish? And, last but not least, just how much does money mean to you?

They are some of the questions thrown up by Phillip G Carroll Jr’s The Honeymoon Phase, an at-times fascinating offering that, while not necessarily the best film I’ve seen at Frightfest, certainly hits the spot for the bulk of its running time.

Before I get to the rest of the review, I’ll acknowledge that yes, lockdown did pretty much have us living in each other’s pockets for a while, but as far as I know I had no cameras trained on me the whole time (as I say, as far as I know…)

Anyway, back to The Honeymoon Phase, which revolves around couple Tom (Jim Schubin) and Eve (Chloe Carroll), a young couple (engaged but not married) struggling financially as Tom tries to complete a novel.

Needing the cash, the pair pose as married and join the Millennium Project, a scientific study that sees couples taken to a facility, placed in a plush apartment they cannot leave and asked to stay the month – in exchange for $50,000.

Running the ‘experiment’ is ‘The Director’ (Francois Chau) who explains the purpose of the study is to try and understand the science behind the flushes of early romance – and how to ensure that passion lasts for the rest of a relationship.

Off go Tom and Eve into their apartment, stacked with modern tech and everything you could wish for – and all seems great.

But as the days pass, Tom seems to become increasingly affected by his surroundings, and Eve realises he may not quite be the man she thought he was…

I’ll leave it there for plot, as The Honeymoon Phase throws a fair few curveballs at the viewer and I wouldn’t like to spoil them. Disappointingly, I also felt the ‘big reveal’ was somewhat telegraphed, but that may be the fact that having seen so many genre pics I’m naturally suspicious.

The obvious key to proceedings here are Tom and Eve – they are pretty much on screen the entire film – and both Schubin and Carroll are wonderful. Carroll especially, as her character runs the gamut of emotions from passion to fear, hope to paranoia, vulnerability to steely determination. Even when emotions are heightened to extreme levels, Eve remains believable, anchoring the film and keeping the viewer invested.

On the ‘vision’ side of things, director Carroll Jr keeps things simple – everything is clean, clinical and composed, but that is exactly what you want from the film.

There’s an unnecessary opening which sees an unhealthy dollop of foreshadowing piled on your plate, and that works against the film in my opinion.

Even so, The Honeymoon Phase has more than enough going for it and will certainly tax the old brain cells as well as the eyeballs.

Arrow Video Frightfest Digital Review: The Honeymoon Phase
3.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle