This year at Fantasia International Film Festival audiences had the opportunity to experience the debut of filmmaker Avalon Fast, Honeycomb. Fast directed, produced, and edited the film and also co-wrote the screenplay with Emmett Roiko. Honeycomb tells the story of a group of friends, getting ready to become adults and go off the college, who decide to spend their summer together at a remote cabin. There, they make their own rules, but sometimes creating your own society can have dire consequences.
This is an interesting film in how it seems to combine the isolated child civilization of Lord of the Flies with the sunlit, yet tragic femininity of The Virgin Suicides. It presents the audience with these girls who are afraid to grow up and go out into the world on their own. Yet, their solution is to go off into the wilderness together where they find their own way of living.
Where Honeycomb falls short is in its execution. The dialogue is clunky and comes across as unnatural. The performances have their good moments, but overall the actors are all a bit stiff. Even on the technical side, the film has really rough edits, essentially no sound mixing, and the boom mic can be spotted quite clearly in at least one scene.
There are some positives. The music is well done and the sun-drenched aesthetic adds a dreaminess, even in the more sinister moments. Unfortunately, it’s just not enough. For a first feature, especially one made by such a young filmmaker using mostly friends and family to fill the cast a crew, it’s a memorable start to Fast’s career. While this film didn’t work for me overall, I’m still looking forward to what Fast does in the future.
Honeycomb has a compelling concept and marks a memorable feature-film debut for Fast, but ultimately lacks the finesse of a well-crafted film.
OVERALL RATING: 3/10