NON HORROR REVIEW- There’s just something about a good camp centered story and film. Whatever the genre, whomever the characters, the location itself mixed with the atmosphere brings such a level of comfort and familiarity to most of us that we can absolutely relate to on some level.
‘Once I Was A Beehive’ is nothing shy of a hidden gem, a mini-masterpiece in the realm of family films and a must watch to supplement a healthy teenage growth, especially in females.
Directed and written by Maclain Nelson, who is better known for his acting career (Dragonfyre, Orcs!) ‘Once I Was A Beehive’ is a gentle and up-building comedy touching on so many relevant issues facing youth.
The story begins as Lane (Paris Warner) and her family are traveling to the mountains on a routine vacation. We get lots of love shown to us from the father (Adam Johnson) and daughter as they giggle about phrases and fanny packs, quickly followed by the father’s abrupt life-ending battle with cancer.
In a soul shattering sequence switch, viewers are fast-forwarded one year to find out Lane’s mother (Amy Biedel) is remarrying, and of course Lane is as upset as most of the audience probably is by this point. However, a very real and relevant issue that far too many of today’s youth must face, and in turn kudos to Nelson for shining a light on this topic even if most wouldn’t agree on it’s merit. The way he maneuvers this in the story, it’s not a glorification nor rejection to the hasty remarriage.
After the wedding and during a lengthy honeymoon, Lane is left with her new ‘family,’ who is basically a group of strangers to her, with a unfamiliar rituals and practices. She quickly befriends Phoebe (Mila Smith) who has her own set of problems and agrees to go to a “Bible” camp with her, both being first timers, they are referred to as “Beehives.”
Don’t let the biblical aspects either draw you in or push you away, beliefs are not the main focal point of this film, instead it is the relativity, companionship and love aspects that makes ‘Once I Was A Beehive’ such a well rounded piece of art.
Along with that, the amazing cast provided the perfect boost for the story, as there didn’t seem to be a weak link throughout the main core of actresses, some having no prior credits before ‘Once I Was A Beehive,’ which in itself is unheard of. I look forward to more films from these young ladies.
The most intense sequences with a bear was seamlessly shot while the culmination of humor was angled in the right manner at the right times, providing the strong cohesion that ‘Once I Was A Beehive’ perpetually houses, topped off with some great music.
I highly recommend this film, especially with families with girls that are preteens and up. It embodies a great message and provides a boost to those who might need it, maybe even a springboard to help some people begin to talk about their issues or tackle them. Well done from start to finish.