If you go down to the woods today, you’re going to get…well, a pretty impressive horror flick actually.

Taking the familiar tropes of the summer camp slasher flick and giving them a very welcome overhaul, writer/director Jonas Govaerts has presented us with a Flemish shocker that delivers entertainment in spades.

It’s not perfect – quite a few questions are left frustratingly unanswered – but it is an inventive, well-acted and nicely paced thrill ride that should satisfy the needs of most genre fans.

We get thrown in with a bunch of scouts heading for a summer jaunt, which include the fresh-faced Sam (an excellent Maurice Luijten) – a kid with a troubled past that may (or may not) include violent impulses.

The clan, led by a trio of scout leaders who should all have parents reaching for the authorities’ contact numbers, decide to head into part of the French countryside which just happens to have been the site of a series of suicides after the village’s business, a bus factory, was forced to close.

In addition, there is also the legend of ‘Kai’, a half-boy, half-animal creature that supposedly roams the area carving people up every now and again.

Put two and two together and you have the recipe for plenty of kids in peril, the somewhat tired cliché of the adults refusing to believe the kids when they claim something is amiss – and a healthy amount of carnage.

Turns out something even more sinister is afoot – something that is never truly explained and will leave the viewer with a whole host of questions when the brief running time draws to a close.

To divulge those questions would be to give too much away, but trust me when I say at the conclusion of Cub you’ll have plenty of ‘but what about?’, ‘so who was?’ and ‘does that mean?’ type queries.

Cub has plenty going for it – the cinematography is excellent, the tension palpable at times and I was a big fan of the film’s minimalist synth soundtrack.

The performances are strong – especially Luijten as Sam, who produces some standout work that will hopefully lead him to bigger and better things.

There is plenty of death to keep things rattling along – nothing too graphic it must be said, but certainly inventive – a hornet’s nest shot through the stomach anyone?

There are echoes of a lot of films here, from the obvious likes of Friday the 13th through to Wrong Turn, but Cub (or Welp to give it its original language title) has managed to carve out a niche of its own, marking out debut-feature-director Govaerts as one to watch going forward.

Cub certainly gets the Movie Ramblings seal of approval – just don’t expect everything neatly wrapped up at the close.

 

DVD Review: Cub
4.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.