The suspenseful and slow-burn thriller “Goodbye Honey” examines trust, the need to survive, loss and vengeance.
Hundreds of thousands of people go missing every year. That, in itself, is terrifying. I always think about it when I walk to my car at night or go anywhere alone. It is the perfect subject for a horror movie, even if it is an overused trope. Always being in danger must be at the forefront of all women’s minds, where ever we go. This movie is a perfect example of why that is a fact.
When I saw the trailer for Goodbye Honey, I was excited for a new take on the female abduction horror sub-genre. I hoped that Max Strand’s debut feature would not make me cringe because of rape and torture scenes.
Thankfully Goodbye Honey succeeded without the unnecessary exploitation admirably, even if it took a long time to get to the point.
Goodbye Honey begins with a woman desperately trying to escape a basement, just to be caught again. This young lady will be visited again later, but for now, we move on to meet a tough as nails female truck driver named Dawn (Pamela Jayne Morgan). Sleepy and driving badly because of it, she looks for a quiet place she can pull off and take a much-needed nap. Finding a state park, she pulls in, checks the perimeter of the truck, then back in the cab she goes for a nap.
Before she can even get comfortable, a breathless and terrified young girl named Phoebe (Juliette Alice Gobin) shows up at the truck, claiming to have escaped from a kidnaper’s car and asking to use Dawn’s phone. Slow to believe her but trying to be sympathetic, Dawn finally decides to help her.
The only weak moment in the film happens here.
Phoebe grabs Dawn’s phone and accidentally drops it. And of course, it breaks. Without a phone to call the police, they are in a bad situation, so the next choice is to simply leave. But where did Dawn leave the keys? I was like, really? Broken cell phone and no car keys? But then I realized I lose my keys all the time, so it was not as unbelievable as it could have been.
I don’t want to give much else away, but trust me, that parking area gets busy with a lot of bad guys, who are all a problem in one way or another. And poor Phoebe just wants to GET OUT OF HERE!
In the beginning, luck did not seem to be with the two ladies, and there was one mishap after another. The film at first seems a bit confusing until the montage of what happened to Phoebe gives us the how and the whys. I really enjoyed that part of the film. During the flashback, made in a series of quick edits, we get a lot of information in a short time and a repetitive part of it showed how horrible what happened to Phoebe really was.
That manic kind of editing and the layered story really got the movie going strong. The more we understand Phoebe’s backstory, the more her urgency starts to make sense.
Two incredibly strong female leads make Goodbye Honey the amazing film that it is.
The mood throughout is very dark and tense.
Women are told not to trust anyone and always be careful and vigilant. The relationship between Dawn and Phoebe is integral to the film, and it is so interesting to see how the trust had to be built gradually. Dawn is not willing to just believe a strange young woman’s story right off the bat. I feel like women used to trust other women immediately if there was a problem, but unfortunately, the world we live in now is terribly unsafe, and the fact that it took time for them to be comfortable with each other was very realistic.
I was impressed how much I loved this film, and not using unnecessary sexualized scenes or gore to get the story across is an added plus. There is more than enough real story to keep any horror fan engaged.
The fantastic twist at the end really surprised me and brought the film to a satisfying finale.
I can see why this film won several awards — including Best Thriller Feature, Best Actress, Best Lead Performance, and Best Supporting Actor — in its travels through film festivals across the country.