Goodbye Honey begins with a young woman trapped in a basement, desperately trying to escape. We don’t get to find out what happens to her before we meet Dawn (Pamela Jayne Morgan), a truck driver in desperate need of shut-eye. She pulls into a state park to get some sleep when she encounters a young woman asking for help, Phoebe (Juliette Alice Gobin).
Phoebe is frantic; she explains she was locked in the trunk of a car and that she really needs to get away as soon as possible. The two women don’t exactly hit it off, and within a few minutes, Dawn is yelling at Phoebe to be more respectful of her and her truck. Phoebe is aggressively frantic and paranoid in her behavior, and she’s demanding and bossy to Dawn. Their ensuing struggle results in a broken phone and Dawn losing the keys to the truck.
Dawn begins to doubt that Phoebe was really kidnapped and becomes more wary of Phoebe’s story. It seems at this point that the audience and Dawn are in the same position; we want to believe Phoebe, but we don’t know if she is at all to be trusted.
Phoebe does nothing to help Dawn when the truck is invaded by two young men. Dawn tries to get the young men to help her, but they instead humiliate her and treat her terribly. Zach (Rafe Soule) and Tyler (Jake Laurence) take up more screen time than their characters deserve. Zach in particular is a horrible person, and Soule plays the part with an exaggerated menace. This scene becomes hard to watch, but it ends up being one of the more enjoyable in the film.
It’s clear that Goodbye Honey is about the suffering and trauma women endure at the hands of men. The film goes into an extended flashback about what happened to Phoebe, including her abductors reasoning for his crimes — it feels like overkill (both his retaliation with the abduction, and the entire flashback). I found the scenes with Dawn and Phoebe much more interesting than the segment of Phoebe’s abduction, which at times felt a little bit like torture-porn.
What starts out seeming like a compelling story about two women who must learn to trust each other becomes something else; when this shift happens away from Phoebe and Dawn and towards the men who victimized them, it really loses the sense of anxiety that had me interested to begin with. Frankly, I don’t care what motivations Phoebe’s captor had for his revenge.
The setting of Goodbye Honey is one of the best for a thriller I’ve seen recently; most of the action takes place in and around Dawn’s truck. Parked in a dark and mostly empty state park, the possibility for an eerie thriller was great. Once the action begins to happen via flashbacks outside of this setting, it’s hard to stay immersed in what’s going on with Dawn and Phoebe inside. The film has an absurd twist towards the end that almost works, but unfortunately at this point in the film I felt very removed from my initial investment in Dawn and Phoebe’s story.
Goodbye Honey tries to accomplish too much by also telling the story of Phoebe’s abduction and of her abductor. The sense of panic at the beginning of the film, and Phoebe’s urgent need to get away, should have been enough to keep the suspense going through the 95 minute film. While parts of Goodbye Honey feel tense and desperate, it doesn’t last. I would have loved to see a film entirely about these two women trying to make it through the night in the a creepy state park, but sadly, Goodbye Honey is not that.
Goodbye Honey arrives on VOD May 11
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