Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRhys Frake-Waterfield
Screenplay byRhys Frake-Waterfield
Based onWinnie-the-Pooh
by A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard
Produced by
  • Scott Jeffrey
  • Rhys Frake-Waterfield
  • Craig David Dowsett
  • Chris Cordell
  • Amber Doig-Thorne
  • Nikolai Leon
  • Maria Taylor
  • Natasha Rose Mills
  • Danielle Ronald
Narrated byToby Wynn-Davies
CinematographyVince Knight
Edited byRhys Frake-Waterfield
Music byAndrew Scott Bell
  • Jagged Edge Productions
  • ITN Studios
Distributed byAltitude Film Distribution
Release dates
  • 26 January 2023 (2023-01-26) (Mexico)
  • 10 March 2023 (2023-03-10) (United Kingdom)
Running time
84 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom[1]
Box office$5.2 million[3][4]

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey is a 2023 British independent slasher film written and directed by Rhys Frake-Waterfield, and co-produced by Frake-Waterfield and Scott Jeffrey. It serves as a horror sequel to A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard's Winnie-the-Pooh books and stars Craig David Dowsett as the titular character and Chris Cordell as Piglet, with Amber Doig-Thorne, Nikolai Leon, Maria Taylor, Natasha Rose Mills, and Danielle Ronald in supporting roles. It follows Pooh and Piglet who have become feral and bloodthirsty murderers, as they terrorise a group of young university women and Christopher Robin when he returns to the Hundred Acre Wood many years later after leaving for college.

The film was first announced on 24 May 2022, when it drew widespread attention due to its premise involving a character that was a beloved childhood icon, and it was met with divided reactions. There was even controversy surrounding the film among both the general public and the Winnie-the-Pooh fan community, with Frake-Waterfield claiming that he and the other members on the film's production received death threats and petitions for the film to be cancelled. It was produced by Jagged Edge Productions in association with ITN Studios and went into development after the 1926 Winnie-the-Pooh book entered the public domain in the United States on 1 January 2022. The film was shot on a $100,000 budget in 10 days in the Ashdown Forest of East Sussex, England, which serves as inspiration for the Hundred Acre Wood, the setting for the stories.

The film was originally set for a nationwide one-night event, but there was a spike in online popularity so the producers expanded it to a major worldwide theatrical release. Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey premiered in Mexico on 26 January 2023, and was theatrically released in the United States on 15 February 2023 and in the United Kingdom on 10 March 2023. The film received largely negative reviews, but was a financial success, grossing $5.2 million worldwide against its small budget. A sequel, tentatively titled Winnie-the-Pooh 2, and a shared universe are currently in development.


Many years ago, a young Christopher Robin met and befriended a group of anthropomorphic creatures—Owl, Rabbit, Eeyore, Piglet, and Winnie-the-Pooh—in the Hundred Acre Wood, and would often bring them food and spend time with them. However, after entering university to become a doctor, he stopped visiting. Without Christopher around to feed or guide them, and with the arrival of winter, the creatures went into extreme starvation. One night, Pooh decided that to survive, the group had to consume one of their own. Eventually, they settled on killing and eating Eeyore, which traumatised them so much that they developed a hatred for humanity, particularly towards Christopher for causing their suffering. They vowed to abandon their humanity, return to their feral instincts, and be permanently silent.

Five years later, Christopher, now an adult, returns to the Hundred Acre Wood, accompanied by his fiancée Mary, to reunite with his old friends, but finds the place in a desolate state. Despite Mary's warnings to leave, Christopher investigates further, but Piglet surprises him and fatally strangles Mary with a chain. Horrified and confused, Christopher attempts to escape, but Pooh and Piglet corner and subdue him before dragging him back into the woods, showing him Eeyore's skeletal remains in a cave, and burning Mary's corpse.

Sometime later, university students Maria, Jessica, Alice, Zoe, and Lara rent a cabin in the Hundred Acre Wood as suggested by Maria's therapist, so she can overcome a traumatic stalking experience. Tina, another of Maria's friends, gets lost en route to the cabin, and Pooh chases her into an abandoned factory, where he grinds her up with a woodchipper. Later, in his treehouse, Pooh, who has imprisoned Christopher, reminisces over their childhood and angrily breaks down, brutally whipping him with Eeyore's tail and placing Mary's skeletal remains in a corner before showering him in her blood.

As night falls, Pooh and Piglet encounter the cabin. They ambush Lara while she is relaxing in a jacuzzi by incapacitating her with a cloth soaked in chloroform before carrying her to the road where Piglet pins her down while Pooh slowly drives a car onto her head, crushing her skull. Having heard the commotion, Maria and Jessica venture outside only to find Lara's corpse and retreat to warn the others. Alarmed by Pooh's presence, the quartet separate into pairs. Piglet enters, knocking Alice unconscious, and kills Zoe in the swimming pool by smashing her face in with a sledgehammer. Maria and Jessica observe the creatures abducting Alice, deciding to infiltrate the woods to rescue her.

In Pooh's treehouse, the pair free Alice, Christopher, and another hostage named Charlene. Seeking revenge after Piglet severely scarred her face, Charlene summons Piglet to kill him, but Pooh subdues her and pours honey on her before Piglet mauls her to death. Pooh chases Maria and Jessica into the woods, but Alice stays behind to subdue Piglet, subsequently chaining him up and then avenging Charlene's, Lara's and Zoe's deaths by fatally bludgeoning him with his own sledgehammer. Pooh returns and fatally impales her with a knife to a wall through her open mouth.

Running to the road, Maria and Jessica seek help from local country men Logan, Tucker, John, and Colt. Despite the men's attempts to overpower him with their weapons, Pooh easily kills them individually until Maria tries to run him over with their pickup truck. Pooh mounts the pickup and she crashes into a tree, losing consciousness. Upon awakening, she witnesses Pooh decapitate Jessica. He drags Maria out of the pickup and almost kills her until Christopher appears driving a car, crushing Pooh between the two vehicles and seemingly killing him.

Christopher tries to help Maria, but Pooh, having barely survived, reawakens, pursues them and grabs her, holding her at knifepoint. Christopher pleads for Pooh to release her, promising to permanently stay in the Hundred Acre Wood with him. Initially hesitant, Pooh then breaks his vow of silence to tell Christopher "You left", before slashing Maria's throat. After watching her slowly bleed to death in his arms, a traumatised Christopher, realising that his former childhood friend is now beyond help, flees from the Hundred Acre Wood, while Pooh repeatedly stabs Maria's corpse.




While the illustrations from the original 1926 book went into the U.S. public domain along with its text, Frake-Waterfield had to avoid any elements that were unique to Disney's depictions of the character.
The film's director Rhys Frake-Waterfield discusses the character design process for the film's version of Winnie-the-Pooh

On 24 May 2022, Josh Korngut of Dread Central reported that a Winnie-the-Pooh-based horror film adaptation was in development.[5] The characters' rights had been owned by The Walt Disney Company since 1966 and, while Disney retains exclusive rights to the depictions of these characters from their own franchise, the first Winnie-the-Pooh book went into the public domain in the U.S. on 1 January 2022.[6] After the copyright lapsed, Rhys Frake-Waterfield began development on Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey the same year.[6] Speaking to Variety, Frake-Waterfield described the plot as both Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet turning into homicidal maniacs after Christopher Robin leaves them for college. He stated:

Christopher Robin is pulled away from them, and he's not [given] them food, it's made Pooh and Piglet's life quite difficult... Because they've had to fend for themselves so much, they've essentially become feral. So they've gone back to their animal roots. They're no longer tame: they're like a vicious bear and pig who want to go around and try and find prey.[7]

The masks used for Pooh and Piglet in the film were created by the American prosthetic-mask manufacturing company Immortal Masks.[8] On February 16, 2023, Frake-Waterfield explained in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment that the first draft of the film was meant to be more close to the original source material. However, The Walt Disney Company still retained the exclusive rights to the depictions of these characters from their own franchise, so Waterfield had to scrap the original script and rewrote it to avoid any legal trouble.[9]


Ashdown Forest, which is known for being the setting of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, was used as the filming location for Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, where it was shot for 10 days.

Principal photography for Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey began in April 2022, with filming taking place in the Ashdown Forest of East Sussex, England over a period of 10 days.[10][2] Jagged Edge Productions produced the film in collaboration with ITN Studios.[11] Frake-Waterfield did outfit Pooh with a red shirt, but was careful to avoid other iconic elements from Disney's depictions that could pose a copyright issue.[6]

After the increased popularity of the film, ITN gave the film an increased budget, leading to several days of reshoots. This would lead to the film being the most expensive film Waterfield ever directed and the most expensive film produced by ITN, with a budget of under $100,000.[12][2]


In July 2022, American composer Andrew Scott Bell was announced as a provider for the score.[13][14] On 14 July 2022, Bell uploaded a video to YouTube titled "Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood, Honey, and Violins" that documented how he drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco, with his manager Mike Rosen, to collect a honeycomb-filled violin from an experimental luthier to compose the film's soundtrack.[15] In an interview with Dread Central, Bell explained how he got involved with the production of Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey upon hearing about the film after it went viral upon the announcement. He said:

Back in late May, a day or so before the film went massively viral, I started seeing some online chatter about a Winnie the Pooh horror movie. I remember looking it up on IMDb and finding the director Rhys Frake-Waterfield on Instagram where his story had a screenshot of a person's comment saying something to the effect of "your movie is ruining our childhoods". His reaction was, "that's what I'm trying to do, ruin everyone's childhood".[16]


Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey was originally planned to be released in October 2022, but the increased publicity and reshoots motivated the change to a 2023 cinema release.[12] The film premiered in Mexico on 26 January 2023 and was released by Cinemex.[17] It was originally set to be released for a one-day event across cinemas in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada on 15 February 2023, with Fathom Events and Altitude Film Distribution acquiring the rights to release it in their respective countries.[18] In January 2023, it was announced that the film had been given an expanded cinema release starting on 15 February in the United States.[19][20] The film was then released in the United Kingdom on 10 March 2023.[21] For one week, the film was re-released in cinemas in the United States on 17 March 2023.[22] A Hong Kong release was canceled due to purported technical glitches, but the film may have been censored due to Internet memes comparing Winnie-the-Pooh to CCP general secretary Xi Jinping;[23] Christopher Robin was banned in 2018 for that reason.[24]


After the film's announcement, Salon writer Kelly McClure wrote the film is "a perfect example of the wrong that could come from a creative work slipping into public domain." She continued, calling the film a "horrific take" on Winnie-the-Pooh, also stating "you've got the makings of a dark and twisted cult classic."[25] Jon Mendelsohn, writing for Collider, called the film images "nightmare fuel" and the concept "extremely bizarre" while noting "the internet is freaking out."[26] Rotem Rusak, writing for Nerdist, wrote, "Seeing the iconic bear reimagined as a nightmarish slasher monster speaks to a delightfully imaginative spirit that really inspires us."[27] Justin Carter of Gizmodo wrote:

The appeal of Blood and Honey will depend entirely on if you're willing to meet the movie halfway on its premise, and aren't immediately turned off by the idea of children's characters being turned into murderers or having some dark, edgy backstory. The internet was filled with that sort of thing just a decade or so ago, and this feels like it's very much pulling from that same cloth.[28]

Katarina Feder of Artnet wrote, " can't buy publicity like the kind they've had and something tells me that this indie passion project will find its funding, bringing to life the director's unique ideas about murdering women in bikinis."[29]

Home video

In the United Kingdom, a collector's edition was released on Blu-ray on April 5, 2023.[30] A more basic release came out on April 14, 2023. It got a digital release on Amazon Prime in the United States on April 11, 2023.[31] On June 2, 2023, it got a widespread release across many streaming platforms such as iTunes and Vudu.


Box office

As of 19 April 2023, Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood and Honey has grossed $2 million in the United States and Canada, and $3 million in other territories, including over $1 million in Mexico, for a worldwide total of $5.2 million.[32][3][4]

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 3% of 58 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 2.2/10. The website's consensus reads: "Oh, bother."[33] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 16 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike".[34]

Christian Zilko of IndieWire scored the film a grade C+, panning the film's screenplay, but felt that the film "punches above its weight" in the craftsmanship of its kills.[35] Awarding the film a similar score, Luke Thompson of the The A.V. Club offered similar criticism towards the cheap production values and lack of a coherent story, while also noting that the film fulfills its promise of a slasher film based on a beloved children's book.[36] Polygon's Tasha Robinson felt that certain elements such as the gore and inherent grotesqueness of the material worked well, but added that the film's poor dialogue, lack of humour, and connection to its basic source material ruined an interesting premise.[37]

Dennis Harvey of Variety was highly critical of the film for its lack of humour, poor acting, and incoherent screenplay, summarising that the film "fail[ed] to meet even the most basic expectations set up by its conceptual gimmick".[38] In his review for Rue Morgue, Michael Gingold felt that the film lacked any sort of wit or imagination to successfully implement upon its premise; Gingold additionally pointed out the "drab" cinematography, absence of characterisation for its title villain, and messy production only served to make the film easily forgettable.[39] Rating the film 1.5 out of 4 stars, Nick Allen from wrote that it failed as both a comedy and a horror film, noting the poorly lit scenes in the film made it hard to decipher what was happening on screen, while echoing other critics' sentiments on the writing and lack of interesting characters.[40]



In June 2022, Frake-Waterfield expressed interest in creating a sequel, and stated that he wants to "ramp it up even more and go even crazier and go even more extreme".[41] In November 2022, he announced that a sequel, currently titled Winnie-the-Pooh 2, was in development with him returning as director and writer, on a budget "five times" larger than the previous installment. The sequel is expected to begin filming in late 2023,[42] with an anticipated release date of February 2024.[2] In August 2023, Rhys Frake-Waterfield announced that Winnie-the-Pooh will use a chainsaw as a weapon in the sequel.[43][44][45]

Shared universe and other projects

Alongside the announcement of a sequel, two other horror films were announced: Bambi: The Reckoning and Peter Pan's Neverland Nightmare based on Bambi, a Life in the Woods and Peter and Wendy respectively.[46][47][48] In February 2023, Frake-Waterfield announced that the various projects take place in the same shared continuity franchise, while Jagged Edge Productions intends to eventually have crossovers featuring the characters.[49]

Frake-Waterfield also expressed interest in making films about Thor, the Norse god of thunder,[50] as well as copyrighted franchises such as Teletubbies and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.[51]

See also

Other horror films based on children's franchises :


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