More often than not, I set myself up to be disappointed that the final product doesn’t mirror the hype that was created for it. However, it was nearly a year ago when I saw the trailer for Jonas Govaerts’ film, Cub. I can recall exactly how I felt; My jaw hit the floor as flashes of grisly violence were intermingled with a haunting camp song. I remember telling myself, “This looks so damn good!” Trying to remind myself that it was a trailer and the possibility of it being as good as it looked were slim, but damn if it didn’t look great. I recently sat down to watch it and I could hardly contain my excitement.
First of all, it is a beautifully shot film with tons of atmosphere one would expect from a slasher film, but it has something else — something truly gorgeous about the cinematography in general that can’t quite put my finger on. Once the film begins, we are introduced to a group of cub scouts and their three adult supervisors. Sam is sort of the odd man out of the group. The troop leaders single him out and seem to enjoy bullying him in front of the rest of the cubs. During the trip, the counselors tell a tale of a half werewolf named Kai who lives in the woods and preys on anyone dumb enough to enter them. A tale made up to terrify the young troop, which Sam seems to take to heart. He crosses paths with a boy in the woods whom he believes to be Kai… and things get out of hand from there.
Without spoiling this film for anyone, I will say a few things. My initial feeling at the end of this film was, “That’s it?” I felt like I had been waiting for a year and then BAM! No closure. However, after I slept on it, I realized something. As slasher fans, we are spoon-fed a formula from the jump. People go to place, killer stalks, last man/woman standing discovers the secrets of the killer, who/why and dispatches them in a timely manner, and finally end the last shot of the film with the killers eyes opening or something to that effect. Sequel. Sequel. Sequel. While I love this formula, it seems that we just expect clunky exposition for the sake of it and when it finally comes, we all either saw it coming or it’s something completely wild and out of left field. I’m looking at you Scream 3.
The last twenty minutes or so of Cub throws a few curve-balls at us and just when we think it’s going to spell it all out for us… it ends. At first I was frustrated, but now that I’ve had time to let it soak in, I say bravo. This movie can be a stand alone with nothing more added or we can see sequels exploring all of those lovely who’s, what’s, and why’s. Cub is a true homage to the glorious gory slashers of the 80’s with some truly impressive methods of dispatching victims. It felt more like an early Friday The 13th film than the remake did. Another thing that makes this stand out for me is the children. Children in peril speaks to everyone watching. All of us are used to seeing twenty-somethings carved up like Thanksgiving turkeys, but knowing the possibility of children being maimed and murdered gives this film an edge unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Watch this one and let it simmer. Watch it twice, if you have to. I, for one, consider it a genre classic! Cub is one of the best horror films of the decade and you can pick it up now from Artsploitation Films!
I give this 4.5 boobie traps out of 5.