When exhausted truck driver Dawn (Pamela Jayne Morgan) decides to pull off in a state park and get some sleep for the night, her simple plans of a nap in the cab of her truck are shattered when a frantic woman pounds on her window. Phoebe (Juliette Alice Gobin) is on the run from a horrific nightmare – kidnapped and locked in a basement for several years, she knows her only chance at freedom is hiding in Dawn’s truck until the coast is clear. Exhausted Dawn does her best to dissuade Phoebe, but before the night is over they will both be in a fight for their lives, and a battle against a man bent on revenge.
Humiliation and degradation of strong women is an overwhelming theme in Goodbye Honey – which unfortunately turned my stomach, and not in a fun, horror-fied way. Dawn is a tough, no-nonsense, almost masculine woman – running her late husband’s business with vim and vigor, and intense dedication. That dedication translates to her putting her life and her dignity on the line time and time again to protect Phoebe, setting her doubts aside even as she realizes the pieces of Phoebe’s story don’t necessarily match up. This leads to Dawn’s utter humiliation and terror time and time again. Like so many horror films lately, it seems that the man vs woman trope is taken too far – allowing the severe degradation and pain of women to create the “horror” and thrills of a thriller. Personally, I’m tired of seeing women spit on, forced into horrifying positions and circumstances, and made to be the psychological and physical victim of a man’s twisted desires. Sickening, and sad, and more than anything – a tired trope.
Morgan gives the performance of her lifetime – allowing herself to be masculine, tired, “used up”, rugged. Gobin plays the hysterical victim to perfection, vacillating wildly between tough and determined and a shaking, sobbing mess. Paul C. Kelly as Cass, Phoebe’s kidnapper with a vendetta, is perfectly creepy and off-putting, never quite able to throw brilliant Dawn off of his trail in spite of his well-rehearsed charms.
Goodbye Honey’s ending satisfies – not quite in a jump from your seat, cheer-out-loud way – but rather in a silent-nod-of-approval way. The final visuals are striking and leave the audience with a sense of justice and accomplishment. Goodbye Honey may not be the height of feminism, it packs thrills and chills, and makes a huge impact with minimal cast, locations, and special effects. Packed equally with mystery and intrigue, the meandering journey of Goodbye Honey takes a foray into the psychological, as even we wonder what is truth and fiction – and who or what is leading us towards the truth, or away from it. Trusting our untrustworthy narrators, whose views are skewed by trauma and fatigue, takes us on a journey that exhausts more than it thrills.
5 out of 10