Winnie the Pooh Critics Are Delightfully Spiteful

Critics pan Rhys Frake-Waterfield's depiction of beloved characters as 'lowest-hanging fruit'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2023 11:23 AM CST

Christopher Robin returns from five years of medical school to find the creatures of 100 Acre Wood transformed into blood-thirsty killers, first forced to eat Eeyore to stave off starvation and now bent on vengeance, in Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. The movie has critics cringing in horror, and not in a good way. They give the horror offering from director-writer Rhys Frake-Waterfield—permitted as the copyright for AA Milne's 1926 short story collection Winnie the Pooh expired last year—a dreadful 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, bashing this "sadistic killer" Pooh and "his face-devouring friend, Piglet." Four amusingly spiteful takes:

  • As Disney's representation of Pooh will remain under copyright for several decades more, Frake-Waterfield's depiction is far from familiar: "a hulking, silent humanoid in a dirty pair of overalls and lumberjack flannel," writes Charles Bramesco at the Guardian, summing up the film as the "lowest-hanging fruit … seemingly produced for $38."
  • "It's too dim to be worthy of a curious look," writes Nick Allen at, noting the film's "poorly lit sequences constantly force you to squint to decipher its nighttime terror." The "best joke" comes with the "rubbery" bear and pig masks of Pooh and "his face-devouring friend, Piglet." But apart from that, "you have a ho-hum stalker thriller that treats its one-dimensional characters as punchlines for gory scenes its budget can't fully deliver on."

  • "There are some surprisingly attractive shots"—for instance, "honey drips from Winnie’s mouth in a sadistic Silence of the Lambs way"—"and the acting is committed rather than arch," writes Johnny Oleksinski at the New York Post. Still, "it is impossible to recommend to the average horror fan in search of a good movie," he writes, quoting one departing audience member as calling it "an actual waste of time."
  • "There is an undeniable subversive appeal" to the whole thing, but viewers will be "chagrined at having paid actual money to see a movie this amateurish," writes Dennis Harvey at Variety. "Over the course of 84 very long minutes, scenes plod along shapelessly, separated by blackouts." Then there are logic gaps "sloppy even by the very generous standards you’d apply" to such a film. Worst of all, this "rock-bottom joint … doesn't have the smarts to actually satirize its inspirational source."
Don't worry, Pooh: It could be worse. (More movie review stories.)

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