THE HONEYMOON PHASE (2019)
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Young couple Eve (Chloe Carroll) and Tom (Jim Schubin) pose as newlyweds to enter The Millennium Project which pays $50,000 to participating couples. All they have to do is basically remain isolated together in a futuristic home while their behavior and relationship is observed round the clock for 30 days. At first it seems like easy money, but soon their relationship begins to unravel. As things get worse and worse, Eve begins to wonder who Tom really is and Tom thinks she’s losing her mind. Are the couple unraveling on their own, though, or is there something more sinister at work here?
Intriguing flick is written and very well directed by Phillip G. Carroll Jr. as a psychological thriller mixed with a dash of science fiction. It is also a very tense and disturbing journey as we watch a young couple in love disintegrate and turn on each other, as their isolation wears on and they start to learn who they really are…or do they? There is some outside influence here from their holographic “handler” (Tara Westwood), who may be giving the couple reasons to distrust each other, or is simply telling them the reality about each other. Is Eve really emotionally unstable, or is Tom not the man she thought she knew and are they finally finding out the truth, now that they are forced to cohabitate. Something very relevant in today’s times. It’s a well written and intense thriller as we watch a couple go from tender lovemaking to inflicting violence on one another. There is some social commentary mixed in about abusive relationships, today’s state of matrimony and about a woman’s right to choose in matters of her own body, too. It’s all interwoven very well in this unsettling tale and best of all it has some surprises in store when it changes direction in the last act. It becomes something quite unexpected, while giving us some surprising reveals as to what is really going on here. It’s an engaging and sometimes unnerving flick, but one not without some emotional depth…and one not without some unsettling violence, once things start to come apart and the lovers are pitted against each other. A smart and effective movie from Phillip G. Carroll Jr.
Carroll casted this flick well, which is a big part of why it works so effectively. For the most part, this is a two person show and Jim Schubin and Chloe Carroll really shine as Tom and Eve. In the early moments they are very convincing as a loving couple who want to make a little easy cash to start their lives together. They are engaging and likable. As the film progresses and they start to distrust and turn on each other, they are equally effective with Eve feeling betrayed and alone and Tom becoming abusive and controlling. They also handle the last act revelations and reveals well, too and the climax is chilling enough to stay with you as the credits role. A good cast that helps make this interesting flick as effective as it is.
The Honeymoon Phase was a surprising thriller that takes a simple premise and turns the screws, as we watch a cute and charming couple turn against each other and transform into people we don’t expect. It’s very well written and directed by Phillip G. Carroll Jr. who keeps it interesting with a bit of a science fiction turn in the last act. It’s fast paced and gets it’s story told in an economical 90 minutes, without skimping on character or story development. There is some startling violence, but also some relevant social commentary woven within it’s story of a relationship imploding…possibly with a little help. Some may see this as a Twilight Zone-esque tale, but if so, one Serling might well have approved of. Also stars Tara Westwood as The Handler and François Chau as the project’s director.
Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) curling irons used painfully.