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.
Follow Rhino’s Horror on Facebook to stay up to date on all the horror that matters!