Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 Revives Franchise That Seemed Dead (SPOILERS)

I’m a sucker for twisted remakes of classic stories, so when I found out there would be a Winnie-the-Pooh slasher film as soon as it hit the public domain in 2023, I was ecstatic. One look at the poster for Blood and Honey told me that it was going to be hot garbage; nevertheless, I also quite enjoy objectively bad horror movies, so I still looked forward to it. Unfortunately, its limited theatrical release occurred while I was living in France and it never made it to my town’s movie theater, so I didn’t get a chance to watch it. A few weeks ago, though, I discovered that they had already made a sequel and that it would be briefly coming to theaters in late March, so I decided to do a double feature. The first movie was, well… Let’s just say the astoundingly low 3% rating on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t entirely unwarranted. I assumed the sequel would be just about as abysmal, because how much improvement could a director possibly show in just one year? To my utter shock, the answer was: a lot. While the first Blood and Honey was the type of movie that is only watchable because you can laugh at what a trainwreck it is, the sequel was actually a decent horror flick. The Blood and Honey franchise seemed dead on arrival, but here’s how the sequel unexpectedly brought it back to life.

WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2.

Genius retconning
Nikolai Leon as Christopher Robin in the first Blood and Honey

Critics and audiences both agree that the first movie was a disaster. Apparently, the creators acknowledged this, because the second movie totally retcons the first, right down to recasting protagonist Christopher Robin. But they don’t just erase the whole thing and start from scratch: they take a much more creative, and amusing, approach.

Fairly early in the film, we see Christopher Robin’s friend Lexy babysitting a boy named Freddy, who is obsessed with horror films. Lexy finds him watching none other than Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey in the living room. Freddy asks Lexy (and this is a paraphrase, not a direct quote), “Isn’t this movie about your boyfriend?” Lexy counters that Christopher Robin is not her boyfriend and (if I remember correctly) that the movie is not an accurate representation of what happened to him. This tells us that rather than the first movie being a prequel to this film, it is presented as a movie that exists within the movie and was made based on Christopher Robin’s experience in the 100 Acre Woods. This provides a logical explanation for why Piglet and Pooh’s designs are so different (which I will get to in a moment) and why Christopher Robin is played by a different actor. I personally found this to be a genius way of owning up to the shortcomings of the first movie without pretending that it never existed. I kind of wish Return to Halloweentown had taken a similar approach when they recast Marnie, but I digress.

There’s also one additional detail that had me screaming with laughter. While most of the brief scenes we see Freddy watching on the TV are pulled directly from Blood and Honey, they sneak in one moment that did not occur in the actual movie: there is a close-up of Pooh’s face and he says, “It’s Poohin’ time.” Pretending that a character in a movie said “It’s ___in’ time” is a joke that often appears when a movie is unsuccessful; for example, one of the most liked Letterboxd reviews for 2023’s Five Nights At Freddy’s movie reads, “best part was when freddy said ‘it’s fazzin time!’” Similar memes were made about Marvel’s Morbius after it flopped so horribly, and actor Jared Leto responded by making a fake announcement that there would be a sequel called “Morbius 2: It’s Morbin’ Time.” But the creators of Blood and Honey go one step forward by actually including the meme in the real sequel. This line was probably unfathomable nonsense to viewers unfamiliar with the meme, but for those of us who understood, it was hilarious.

Improved character designs

One of the biggest shortcomings of the first Blood and Honey (of which there are many) is that Pooh and Piglet’s appearances are totally unconvincing. We are told in the prologue that Pooh and friends are all human-animal hybrids, but all I can see when I look at them are men in rubber masks. Piglet’s mask is at least a little realistic, but Pooh’s smooth yellow face and paws are just ridiculous. Fortunately, both characters are revamped for Blood and Honey 2. We don’t see much of Piglet in the sequel, but Pooh is still the main antagonist and his face is much less cartoonish in this film. Although still unrealistically yellow, he at least has fur and fangs now. It is much easier to imagine him as a monster rather than just a guy in a mask. It’s definitely a huge step up from the Spirit Halloween-looking nonsense from the first film!

In addition, Owl and Tigger join the cast this time around, and their designs are awesome. Owl truly does look like a human whose genes have been combined with those of a bird, as his mostly human face is distorted by a beak and his body is covered in dark feathers. Tigger (pictured above), like Pooh, has fangs, claws, and fur, in addition to a tail that swishes mesmerizingly (although we never see him bounce on it as the original Tigger does). His appearance is so frightening that most pictures of him on Google Images are blurred by SafeSearch.


The prologue of the first movie provides a brief overview of how the animals of the 100 Acre Woods became feral: they are described as human-animal hybrids that became reliant on Christopher Robin for food, so when he left for college they were on the brink of starvation and had to eat their friend Eeyore to survive. This gruesome act made them lose their minds. But we never find out why these creatures exist in the first place. Fortunately, Blood and Honey 2 sheds some light on this subject. Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Owl, Rabbit, and Roo were once normal human children, but they were kidnapped by a mad scientist who was experimenting with combining human and animal DNA. The experiments he performed on these seven children were the closest he came to success, but when their animalistic traits started becoming too prominent, he felt that they were a danger to him and took them into the 100 Acre Woods to dispose of them. However, he didn’t realize that the regenerative abilities he’d noticed in his subjects were powerful enough to make them practically immortal, and he died without knowing that all seven of them had actually come back to life after he killed them. It’s actually quite the heart-wrenching story, especially when we find out Pooh’s original identity, but that’s one reveal I’ll leave you to witness on your own rather than spoiling it for you.

Gnarly kills

What’s a slasher film without kills? This is actually one area in which the first movie did not fail tremendously, and the sequel continues to shine in this respect with an impressive list of gruesome deaths. Pooh and his friends tally up quite the headcount, and some causes of death include a bear trap to the head, acidic vomit, and being burned alive. We also see them rip off a woman’s hand then impale it in her mouth, shred partygoers like cat toys, and slam a woman’s face into an upward-pointing set of knives. Pooh also has a new signature weapon: a bear trap on a chain, which is great because, well, he’s a bear. In an interview with director/writer Rhys Frake-Waterfield and producer/editor Scott Chambers (who also plays Christopher Robin in this movie) that was shown before the movie started, they stated that the total recorded footage of kill scenes totaled 20 minutes, and over five scenes had to be cut from the final edit. These removed kills will appear on the DVD edition of the movie. We never see how Christopher’s father meets his demise, so perhaps his murder will be among those included on the DVD.

Iconic lines

The film nods to the original Winnie-the-Pooh by including a few iconic lines from older stories and cartoons.  Pooh’s last words before having his head smashed in with a sledgehammer is his signature catchphrase: “Oh, bother.” This also happens to be his only spoken line in the entire movie, which adds to its importance. Later, Owl says to Pooh’s nearly headless body, “Oh Pooh, you truly are a bear of very little brain.” This quote dates all the way back to A.A. Milne’s 1926 children’s stories, in which Pooh refers to himself as “a bear of very little brain.” Back then, it was meant to demonstrate the silly bear’s simple nature; now, Owl uses it in reference to the fact that there is quite literally very little left of Pooh’s physical brain since his skull has been cracked open. Lastly, while investigating Tigger and Owl’s lair, an unnerved police officer says, “Let’s bounce.” Tigger then appears and responds, “That’s my line.” Although this doesn’t quite make sense in the context of the movie, since we never see this homicidal Tigger doing any bouncing, audiences know that the original Tigger character is known for bouncing around on his tail. It’s been several days since I saw the movie and I’m still laughing about this bit.

Inexplicable similarities to Five Nights At Freddy’s

In Blumhouse’s Five Nights At Freddy’s, Mike has a much younger sister named Abby who was born years after his brother and several other children were kidnapped and never found. In Blood and Honey 2, Christopher Robin has a much younger sister named Bunny who was born years after his brother and several other children were kidnapped and never found. Did you get déjà vu reading those sentences? Because I certainly felt it while watching this movie. I guess we are currently witnessing an era of the horror movie genre in which the norm is bears terrorizing young men who witnessed the kidnapping of their brothers when they were kids and now have a sister that is almost young enough to be their daughter.

But wait, there’s more!

Or at least, there will be soon. In the aforementioned interview with Rhys Frake-Waterfield and Scott Chambers, they revealed that they have three more twisted fairytale retellings slated for 2024: Bambi: The Reckoning in July, Peter Pan’s Neverland Nightmare in October, and Pinocchio: Unstrung in December (these are the dates for their UK release; it is unknown if or when they will come to US theaters). There are also plans for a third Blood and Honey as well as films based on Sleeping Beauty and The Mad Hatter. These movies will most likely come out at some point next year, because all of the above characters are scheduled to appear in a crossover film called Poohniverse: Monsters Assemble on Halloween 2025. Although this title refers to these horror fairytales as the “Poohniverse,” I have also seen it called “The Twisted Childhood Universe,” so it’s uncertain which one is the franchise’s official name. Either way, the Marvel Cinematic Universe better watch out, because these guys are coming for their crown.

I am particularly excited for Bambi: The Reckoning. After the interview with Frake-Waterfield and Chambers, they showed a brief clip from this upcoming film. We see a group of hunters, and when one of them is asked if he’s ever shot a deer, he gets a haunted look and says, “One, once.” We can infer that he is referring to Bambi’s mom. We later see a grown-up Bambi wreaking havoc and flipping over a car, and honestly? Good for him. If anyone deserves a revenge story, it’s that poor little guy.

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2′s limited theatrical release has unfortunately already ended, but the first Blood and Honey is currently streaming on Peacock.

About Gabby Bibus

Gabby has been obsessed with anime since she was just 9 years old, and is proud to say she has watched over 200 different series. But that’s not even her biggest claim to fame: she also lives on a farm with over 80 goats! Although anime and animals are her two favorite things in the world, she also loves music, books, and movies. Her day job is a middle school ESL teacher, and she is also a staff member at the New Jersey Renaissance Faire.

View all posts by Gabby Bibus

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