PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER, ‘BLOOD HONEY’ KEEPS PSYCHOLOGISTS BUZZING WITH SUCCESS OF RECENT DVD+VOD RELEASE

February 06 11:34 2018

BLOOD HONEY // TRICOAST ENTERTAINMENT
Psychologist / psychoanalyst Michael Bader, D.M.H., takes on ‘BLOOD HONEY’ – entering into the troubled and terrified mind of Jenibel (Shenae Grimes-Beech). Watch ‘BLOOD HONEY’ on DVD+VOD today.

Los Angeles, CA – February 6, 2018 –

Michael Bader, D.M.H., provides “shrink’s commentary” for film, to raise overall mental health awareness.

TriCoast Entertainment was elated to give audience viewers what they wanted – access to watch ‘BLOOD HONEY’ finally in the U.S. last week. Alongside the film’s skyrocketing view clicks, psychologists and psychiatrists worldwide can’t seem to rid their mind of the troubled and deteriorating mind of Jenibel Heath (Shenae Grimes-Beech). 

Written and directed by Jeff Kopas (‘An Insignificant Harvey’, ‘Dogasaur’, ‘The Other Side’) and Doug Taylor’s (‘Splice’, ‘A Christmas Horror Story’, ‘Darknet’) newest indie, Canadian psychological thriller, ‘BLOOD HONEY’, follows the unraveling mind of Jenibel as she returns to her family’s secluded lodge for the first time in 10 years, after she witnessed her mother’s terrifying suicide.  

Jenibel’s childhood trauma consumes her body and life with frightening hallucinations and extreme breakdowns, unable to grasp the distinction of reality and her living nightmare, ultimately questioning her own sanity.

TriCoast Entertainment has recently launched “shrink wrap”, a specialized psychologist analysis providing ‘shrink’s commentary’ – one in which they provide an accredited professional and psychological point of view into Jenibel’s mind, self and experiences throughout the film, applying it to real-world psychology and providing new insight into overall mental health to assist in raising awareness. 

The next psychologist and psychoanalyst to tackle and unravel the troubled mind of Jenibel was Michael Bader, D.M.H. with over 30 years of experience of the human mind, while expanding on his clinical work and extensive writing in academic journals / popular media. Read his review below.

“Review of the Film ‘Blood Honey’”

By: Michael Bader, D.M. H

Viewers know right from the outset that the film Blood Honey is going to be a psychological thriller in which reality is up for grabs. The main character, Jenibel (played by Shenae Grimes-Beech) is in a light trance state speaking with her therapist who encourages her to visualize telling her father, “I forgive you.” The therapist encourages Jenibel to be sure that the father is “really there,” and not just an image. The scene is set for a film to feature Jenibel’s decompensate mind and that plays with the minds of its audience in the process.

If a film is good to the extent that it not only entertains but also generates conversation, then Blood Honey qualifies.  The viewer leaves the film wondering, what was real and what was hallucination? What happened in the real world versus what happens only in Jenibel’s paranoid mind?  Psychotherapists will have a field day with it.

Early on we see Jenibel—Jenny–and her brother as children enjoying a family fireworks display at their family’s remote camping lodge and island.  Suddenly, the children witness their mother leaping to her death from a water tower.  This suicide, and the presumable trauma it caused to all involved, is the backdrop to the plot. Jenny returns after many years because her father, who allegedly sent her away as a child, contacted her to tell her that he was dying.  It’s as if she’s returning to the “scene of the crime.” We know only that her intention is to forgive her father for something.

Her father and the rest of her extended family have other things in mind.

Jenny reunites with a younger sister, Linda, who apparently was quite young when Jenny left.  The younger sister has Down’s syndrome, or is otherwise retarded, and becomes Jenny’s constant companion throughout the movie. The extended family includes a doctor who is a long time family friend, a former boyfriend, now grown, and the boyfriend’s parents—all long time island dwellers.  There are also 2 other men at the Lodge.

Another aspect of the plot revolves around the beehives that the family keeps from which they manufacture and sell honey.  Early in the film, Jenny discovers that her father has a macabre and frighteningly crazy plan to which he makes her a witness and accomplice- – he will kill himself by locking himself inside the cage that holds the beehives and let himself be stung to death after extracting a promise from Jenny that she will sell the property after his death in order to give everybody there a “fresh start.”  Jenny then learns that her father has given her a controlling interest in the property and in fact has been in negotiation with the two men at the Lodge to sell the property to them in order for it to be developed.  Doing so will irrevocably disrupt and alter the lives of everybody else involved with the family. Much to everyone’s protest and horror, Jenny decides to honor her father’s wishes and decides to sell.

At some point we learn that Jenny has had “visions” for a long time, experiences that her therapist calls “waking dreams.” Upon her return to the island, she repeatedly has visions, especially of her mother. We can see that Jenny’s visions involve attempts to come to terms with the dramatic mystery of her mother suicide.  At one point, she experiences the illusion that she is her father and hallucinates a fight with her mother.

Jenny decides that her hallucinations are a result of being poisoned by her brother and others in the house with a toxic batch of honey.  The paranoia in the story becomes acute as she unsuccessfully tries to escape, taking her younger sister, Linda, with her, only to find herself restrained by her extended family who keep telling her to “rest, just rest… You’ll feel better…” At this point we believe in Jenny’s point of view.  This sinister feeling only gets more intense in the film’s dénouement, as Jenny gets her ultimate revenge—namely, using the poisoned honey to kill everyone in the house.

The twists and turns of the film, alternating between Jenny’s sanity and insanity, her apparent rationality alternating with her delusions, make the actual plot sometimes difficult to follow.  However, as a psychological study, the film remains quite interesting from beginning to end.

The psychological process being illustrated here involves grief, trauma, projection, and dissociation. If this were a clinical case study, it might read something like this:  Jenny is a 20-year-old woman whose early life was marked by severe loss and trauma. Her mother, possibly psychotic herself, committed suicide when Jenny was seven years old. Jenny’s younger sister, Linda, died unexpectedly from a bee sting while playing with Jenny shortly before the mother’s suicide. Jenny dealt with the trauma and guilt connected to these events through dissociation, leading to her experience of “waking dreams” throughout her life in which internal states came to feel as if they were external ones, and external perceptions came to be experienced as if they were Jenny’s own emotions.  This is exactly how dissociation resulting from trauma works.   With her father’s apparent suicide soon after her return to the island, this dissociation becomes extreme and Jenny becomes frankly delusional.

At the point Jenny steps back on the island, her family home, everything that follows can be read as either literally true or as an expression of Jenny’s hallucinations, in other words, as a waking dream. Like a therapist, the viewer’s perspective constantly straddles the fence between the worlds as Jenny sees it and Jenny as the world sees her. In Jenny’s world, the father locks himself in a cage with beehives and attempts to kill himself. Seen from the point of view of the extended family, Jenny may well have locked her father up and murdered him.  In Jenny’s mind, she finds evidence that the group at the cabin is poisoning her.  From an outside perspective, however, we see signs that Jenny is having a breakdown and becoming frankly paranoid.  Jenny sees herself as a captive of malevolent forces, while the family appears to be attempting to care for and protect her. Therefore, when Jenny eventually poisons everybody in the house in retaliation, this can easily appear as either a bold counterstroke to secure her freedom, or as a magical and crazy solution that Jenny’s tortured mind has come up with in order to resolve her own feelings of guilt and loss.

Having lost her mother to suicide and her sister to both illness and sudden death, Jenny’s guilt is likely profound. When a child feels guilty at this level, psychological life becomes intolerable and emergency solutions, even if psychotic must be sought. For example, such a person will imagine that the lost love ones are not in fact lost, and hallucinate their presence. Sometimes the delusion involves the belief that the lost loved one is alive inside you.  In this reading Jenny’s sister, Linda becomes the damaged and murderous part of Jenny, cut off from Jenny’s core sense of self but nevertheless at times running the show.  When a part of us that we are trying to deny is in control, we call that a case of multiple personality.   Jenny does terrible things in the film, often under Linda’s guidance, providing further evidence that Linda is a part of Jenny, not an actual separate person in the real world. Jenny becomes different people, because she has been forced to split herself up into separate personalities in response to trauma, pain, and guilt.

Blood Honey, read as a psychological study, offers many potential interpretations.  As a film there are occasional problems with understanding characters’ motivations and plot twists that don’t always make sense.   However, the resulting ambiguities do in fact reflect the difficulties with reality testing that so often afflict victims of early childhood trauma.  The achievement of Blood Honey is to maintain a sometimes-unpleasant ambiguity and offer a resolution with enough loose ends to leave the viewer wondering.

About Michael Bader, D.M.H.:

Michael Bader, D.M.H., is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in San Francisco with over 30 years of experience.  In addition to several books about the psychodynamics of sexuality, Bader has written extensively about the interaction of psychology, culture, and politics in both academic journals and popular media such as Alternet.org and Tikkun magazine. He has appeared as an expert in numerous documentaries, as well as radio and TV programs. In addition to his clinical work and writing, Bader was also a founder of the Institute for Change, a progressive think-tank focused on leadership development.

Author of: “What Is He Thinking?” – A blog that seeks to examine the many issues on the interface of psychology, politics, and culture, including sexuality, psychotherapy and progressive social change.

Now, it’s your turn to follow Jenibel down a path of ultimate psychological horror, with unexpected plot twists that will leave you watching until the very end. Watch ‘BLOOD HONEY’ on DVD by visiting: www.bloodhoneymovie.com or by streaming it today on VOD platforms (iTunes, Sony, Xbox, InDemand, Sling, DISH, GooglePlay, Hoopla, Fandango and Vudu). 

With an excellent, captivating, and unique Canadian cast, including Grimes-Beech, “BLOOD HONEY” stars Gil Bellows, film-famous for the 1994 classic, “The Shawshank Redemption”, “Unthinkable” with Samuel L. Jackson, and Jennifer Lawrence

The film’s continued star-studded cast includes Kenneth Mitchell (‘Star Trek: Discovery’ (2017/18 TV series), ABC Family’s ‘Switched at Birth’,  ‘Jericho’, ‘The Astronaut Wives Club’), Don McKellar (‘The Sensitive Skin’, ‘Blindness’, director of ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’), Morgan Kelly (‘A History of Violence’, ‘Being Erica’, ‘The Lookout’), Natalie Brown (‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’, ‘Dawn of the Dead’, ‘The Strain’), and Rosemary Dunsmore (‘Orphan Black’).

Watch the ‘BLOOD HONEY’ trailer here: https://vimeo.com/217438652

 

BLOOD HONEY (2017, 95 min.) Directed by Jeff Kopas. Written by Jeff Kopas and Doug Taylor. Editor: Mike Reisacher. Cinematographer: D. Gregor Hagey. Original Music: Amin Bhatia. US, English. Lumanity Productions, Manitouwabi Films, Vitality Media Productions, TriCoast Entertainment.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Lumanity Productions, Manitouwabi Films, and Vitality Media Productions

About TriCoast Entertainment: A new home for story-driven American films, TriCoast Entertainment is a full service media company that creates, produces, manages and distributes unique and unusual entertainment. Bringing together filmmakers, distributors, financiers, and technologists, TriCoast Entertainment embraces change by redefining the production and distribution model for indie filmmakers, providing them with low cost tools, financing, and worldwide theatrical and digital distribution, along with market feedback and storytelling opportunities tools, financing, and worldwide theatrical and digital distribution, along with market feedback and storytelling opportunities.

Founded by CEOs: Strathford Hamilton and Marcy Levitas Hamilton.

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