Cub (2014) – Jonas Govaerts

 

Also releasing from Anchor Bay today is this film that hails from Belgium. The blurb had me from the outset. Young Sam (Maurice Luijten) is troubled and imaginative. He’s off on a camping trip with his local cub scout troop, with Kris (Titus De Voogdt), Peter (Stef Aerts) and Jasmijn (Evelien Bosmans) as their pack leaders.

Once in the woods, Sam, spurred on by the tales the adults have shared to make the camp more fun about a wereolf boy named Kai, tries to convince the others that there is someone else in the woods with them.

Of course no one believes him, even when things start to go missing… not until they too start to encounter the strange traps that have been set for them…

The film looks great, the locations are great, as is the production design, the high hide is a nice piece, and the cast is fairly solid. They keep the younger performers away from any of the heavy lifting, but Luitjen does a nice job, as he flirts with his darker self.

When the truth begins to out, in the last half hour, things start to go very badly for the campers, and the body count takes a nice leap, though nowhere near as bloody as you’d imagine, or possibly hope for if you’re a gore hound.

There are a couple of story threads that aren’t tied up by film’s end, and you’re left to wonder if that’s intentional to set things up for a proposed sequel.

cubkai

Cub never quite reaches the level of horror film that it seems to be reaching for, instead, I think it’s more apt to describe it as a dark coming of age adventure film, with Sam and the feral Kai (Gill Eeckalaert) serving as almost dark mirror images of one another.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some horrific moments in the film, both seen and implied, but overall, this one isn’t a horror movie. So if that’s what you go in expecting, and it definitely appears to be sold that way in its trailers, you may be disappointed. However, if you know going in that it’s more an adventure, a bloody and violent one to be sure, but an adventure, then you’re bound to enjoy it more.

I do like some of the choices that the story makes, some I would have played up a little more, and I love the back story of the forest itself, so we know going in who the baddies really are, and why they live out there.

And, admittedly, there were some moments that kept me guessing right until the end of the film, on which way things would play out.

This one was fun, could have been a little grislier, but fairly enjoyable. Remember, dark adventure, not a horror film (despite a lot of the things that go on).

Cub is available today from Anchor Bay.

Maurice Luijten is Sam in Welp/CUB (Jonas Govaerts/Potemkino 2014).
Maurice Luijten is Sam in Welp/CUB (Jonas Govaerts/Potemkino 2014).

 

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