Directed by Jonas Govaerts
Over-imaginative 12 year-old Sam heads off to the woods to summer scout camp with his pack convinced that he will encounter a monster...
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★★★★ review by Daniel Rodriguez on Letterboxd
It is really interesting that most of the good horror movies coming out recently are always paying some sort of tribute to the 80s. From the soundtrack to the don't-go-in-the-woods slasher style, Cub is a really cool horror film coming straight from Belgium!
Cub follows a group of boy-scouts in a camping trip, always playing with the coming of age genre, but things go south when they encounter some sort of Belgium equivalent of a redneck living in the woods and his companion, an evil version of Mowgli the wolf boy.
The strenght of Cub comes from his leading character Sam, fantasticly portrayed by Maurice Luijten. His darkness being slowly revealed ties the film together in a very nice manner. The slashing bits are quite confined to the last act, being the first ones more focues on developing the characters and setting up for the bold ending. Cub is already of my favorite horror movies of 2015!
★★★★ review by Anthony Leroy on Letterboxd
CUB (A.K.A WELP) is a Belgian film directed by Jonas Govaerts about a group of cub scouts and their leaders who go camping in the French boonies and fall victim to a bloodthirsty poacher and a feral child known as 'Kai'. CUB was largely funded through IndieGoGo back in 2013 and ended up being a complete surprise that caught me off-guard when it came out. As a directorial debut, Govaerts has shown a lot of talent in the director's chair and I'm so excited to see his future projects. He knows how to make the performances of any actor under his wing come off as authentic. Shot on a minuscule budget of around 12,000 dollars (CAD), the film looks like a blockbuster and the truly stellar direction by Govaerts really knocks this horror film out of the ball park.
There's a lot of reasons why CUB works and one of the main reasons is the fresh decision to put a group of kids in perilous scenarios. The film, written by Govaerts and co-writer Roel Mondelaers, rackets the tension and suspense high when they put the pre-teen scouts on the path of foreboding doom. The first two acts are mostly centered on getting to know the characters and Govaerts lets the audience know early on that they're in for a violent conclusion. When it comes to the characters, it's especially easy to connect with the main boy, Sam (Maurice Luijten). Luijten plays the role of Sam to perfection, bringing a realism to his character and really grounding him in reality. In fact, all of the acting in the film is top-notch and was a huge surprise. The biggest standout apart from Luijten is Stef Aerts, who plays Peter, one of the most despicable bullies I've ever seen in a film of this kind.
The other highlights in CUB that make it a standout among recent horror outings is that it features some of the most gorgeous cinematography I've ever seen in a film. Nicolas Karakatsanis (who shot THE DROP and TRIPLE 9) really shines here and he successfully fills each frame with a powerful sense of wonder and awe. All of the shots are dripping with vibrant, magnetic colors and because of that, a haunting atmosphere lingers throughout every minute of CUB. The violent, inventive traps scattered throughout the setting add a foreboding sense of danger that is hard to match. Guaranteed that two particular moments in the film will never leave my mind; a unique mechanism involving a beehive and an unsettling substitute for a piñata. Steve Moore's flawless and brilliant score for the film makes it truly feel complete; the sense of foreboding doom is imminent and the mood he composes through his keys keeps the viewer constantly engaged.
The only real cons I have with the film is that the pacing is a little rocky and the narrative is a bit weak. CUB leaves you with a lot of questions and not enough answers. I'm all for ambiguity but there's certain plot elements that are dropped and therefore, there's little coherence in a few scenes. A lot of images are thrown at the viewer and it's difficult to figure out why it's there because of the vagueness behind it. Also, this film is filled with a lot of horror clichés that grow very tiring throughout the run-time. However, it makes up for it by subverting most of them and giving the viewer enough to set CUB apart from the pack. Overall, I loved this flick and I'm so happy that I picked it up. I'm definitely gonna be keeping an eye out for Jonas Govaerts and his future in the film industry. This is a very impressive feat in indie filmmaking and definitely one of the best horror films of 2014.
★★★½ review by Nikolas on Letterboxd
Horror movie with scouts, and predictable ending. Still nice kills, i like that everyone gets to die, a dog, kids, women. And please stop using synth soundtrack its lame at this point.
★★★½ review by Pat Gambardella on Letterboxd
Remarkable crowdfunded debut movie by the Letterboxd member Jonas Govaerts!
He hits my taste when he mixed synth music from Steve Moore with scouters and gore.
Cub is a must for every 80s themed movie fan!
★★★½ review by John (Magic Rat Movies) on Letterboxd
Shocktober 2015 - 31 Nations Of Fear Film #3
A twisted rites of passage fable which shifts tone from breezy boys own adventure into dark and disturbing horror mythology. By rights this Belgian hybrid of gruesome backwoods slasher and teenage adventure romp shouldn't really gel, but writer/director Jonas Govaerts clearly knows his genre movies and strikes a delicate balance which sidesteps expectations right up to the impressively powerful and harrowing denouement.
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