As some of you know, I’ve been going to Fantasia for the last two years. Last year, there wasn’t a lot of movies that I didn’t get to fit in my schedule but this Belgian horror movie called Cub did. I don’t know anything about Belgian movies but Cub’s trailer looked great and the poster looked absolutely compelling. Not to mention, probably one or two of the horror focused sites had covered it and it was all pretty awesome that I couldn’t wait to see it. I finally did!
Let’s check it out! 🙂
Director (and co-writer): Jonas Govaerts
Cast: Maurice Luijten, Titus De Voogdt, Stef Aerts, Evelien Bosmans, Gill Eeckelaert, Jan Hammenecker
Over-imaginative 12 year-old Sam heads off to the woods to summer scout camp with his pack convinced he will encounter a monster…and he does.-IMDB
I can’t say I fully agree with the IMDB description but its close enough without spilling too much about the story. Cub is one of the better horror movies I’ve seen in a while. I’m not a seasoned horror fan like many of you but I do enjoy watching horror now and again and Cub is not exactly slow burning but it managed to build quite the atmosphere. It doesn’t even try to hide what we’re dealing with. In the first scenes before even the title pops up, we’re thrown into a chase scene and our monster is revealed. It might reminisce a little on the reveals of some classic horror movies (at least I think I remember it that way). It reveals the monster before we even get into our main characters.
While Cub is about a bunch of scout boys going to camp with their two counsellors/camp leaders and the one camp cook (the girl above), the story is focused mainly around the two leaders Kris and Peter, the cook Jasmijn, the boy Sam and a few snapshots go to the scouts group leader and Sam’s friend. In most camping movies, there’s always some adventurous character that makes some weird choices and Sam already starts off as a peculiar kid. He’s a little quiet and doesn’t really get along with the group and we start to know more about his background and how he ended up joining the scouts but then that still doesn’t explain why he would go exploring for Kai, the suspected werewolf lurking in the forest. Fact is, Sam gets bullied a lot and we start to sympathize for him and maybe even connect with his character. He is a child after all and helpful but also quite smart. I guess he suffers the horror syndrome of being at the wrong place at the wrong time for most issues that occur.
In terms of counsellor, we have something of a good and bad cop situation. Kris is a much more caring character than Peter who comes along with his aggressive dog. He’s somewhat of the bully here and we quickly will feel that he’s not exactly suitable as a counsellor but Kris is there to balance the spectrum a little. He can somewhat keep Peter under control for the most part. Each of these characters create a balance in the camp. Its hard to say whether they were crucial to the development of the story but they definitely added a bridge for Sam’s character in how he reacts to them. If anything, the friction truly comes in the only girl at camp, Jasmijn. Was she a problem or the person that might cause and alleviate the situation? Its hard to say.
Its hard to talk about Cub mostly because the story does build. There isn’t exactly a twist that pulls the carpet under your feet but it builds to piece the story together. It was definitely a refreshing and compelling watch. There are flaws and most characters other than Sam aren’t exactly meaningful enough to care about them but there is still a lot to like in this one. The beginning pulls the audience right in to sitting up the stage of what we are dealing with and the ending is rather smart. While the middle is a lot of setting up the stage, Cub isn’t a long film and that gives it a more decent pacing which helps it a lot. Its worth a watch.
Have you seen Cub? What did you think about it?