Review: Cub, a pint-sized slasher

We’ve seen a lot of feature film debuts this year from some of the genre’s most exciting up-and-coming directors, giving us a promising look at the future of horror. One such director is Jonas Govaerts, who makes his debut with the wonderfully twisted pint-sized slasher Cub. In it, an imaginative 12 year-old Sam heads off to the woods for summer scout camp becoming more and more convinced that a terrible fate awaits them all—a feral child intent on slaughtering the scouts… one by one…

Govaerts makes one hell of a first impression with Cub, skipping useless composition—something too many horror films are guilty of nowadays—and going straight for the throat with a bunch of boy scouts at the center of a feral child-fueled rampage. It starts with quickly introducing us to the victims, most of which are made up of little kids who are being supervised by three young adults; that’s not a bad line-up for stacking the body count!

Although I really like that Cub gets right to the good stuff, it’s almost too formulaic for its own good. It’s a pretty easy film to figure out, too, with the most horror movie characters ever. You have your asshole, the nice guy, the borderline slutty girl who likes the asshole guy, the all too predictable survivor girl (in Cub‘s case it’s a boy), the bullies and so on.

It’s already hard enough to care about anyone in a slasher film, so the least you can do is not make the characters a copy/paste job. Normally that sort of thing wouldn’t bother me too much, but I just hate when they take a unique concept such as this and hinge it on one cliche after another. But perhaps its biggest flaw is that it hints at the fate of its main character far too early, dulling what would have otherwise been a very cool final act. It’s just a waste of potential, which is a shame because there’s a lot going on in Cub to get excited about.

For one thing, Govaerts creates a terrific atmosphere entirely driven by this constant sense of something lurking in the shadows, waiting to claim its next victim. And although its constructed in a very familiar fashion, Cub‘s biggest strengths are in its creepy visuals and the inventive take on the slasher genre. With the woods laced in booby traps and a killer kid behind all the carnage, Cub offers a standard, yet fun midnight movie with enough of the red stuff to find a cozy little spot in the genre.

3/5

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If you are ever attacked by a gorilla just sit back and relax while you enjoy the once in a life time feeling of your limbs being ripped off.

11 thoughts on “Review: Cub, a pint-sized slasher

    1. Yeah, the twist fell kind of flat for me as well. At first I didn’t know how I felt about The Boy, but the longer you sit on it the better it gets. It’s a fantastic psycho slow-burn that everyone needs to see.

  1. “Pint-sized slasher”

    As a fan of Fallout 3, I see what you did there … and heartily approve.

    This one is on my to-watch list, as is “The Boy.” Thanks for the review!

  2. This is disappointing to hear. I’ll probably still watch cause ya know, better than the next PARANORMAL ACTIVITY or whatever the heck they’re doing these days but man, I thought it would be way cooler than your review sounds. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Such a shame to hear that the director decided to go with so many clichés
    Particularly since, as you said, the film’s premise was so promising
    Would you still recommend watching it? I’ve been starved of good slashers lately and I’m loathed to watch Scream for the hundredth time

    1. I definitely still recommend checking it out because there are some pretty fun kills here and there. Good slashers are few and far between these days but I really dug the remake of Maniac with Elijah Wood, if you haven’t seen it. But if you want a more psychological, in depth look at the possible birth of a slasher, watch The Boy… that was pretty solid.

      1. Awesome! Thanks for the recommendations.
        I’ve been meaning to check out The Boy, although I’m not sure if it’s out in the UK yet, but I’ll definitely have a look at Maniac too
        After seeing Elijah Wood in Sin City, he now genuinely terrifies me

      2. Good call! Elijah Wood is INSANE in that movie. I love his turn towards the genre over the last few years, he’s been doing some really great stuff lately.

      3. He had Grand Piano come out recently which is more of a thriller but still a totally awesome Hitchcockian little flick. He also has Cooties coming out in a few weeks which looks great. His production company (SpectreVision) also puts out some awesome indie horror flicks—The Boy was one of them.

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