Cub review: bleeder of the pack

Hellishly unhappy campers versus whatever it is that’s stalking them in this nifty, efficient horror film from Belgium

Film Title: Cub (Welp)

Director: Jonas Govaerts

Starring: Stef Aerts, Evelien Bosmans, Titus De Voogdt, Maurice Luijten, Gill Eeckelaert

Genre: Horror

Running Time: 84 min

Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 20:00

   

If you go down to the woods today . . . you might just be lucky enough to encounter this nifty little Belgian horror.

Jonas Govvaerts’ promising directorial debut concerns a troop of cub scouts who venture out into the countryside for a camping trip that soon goes eye-gougingly wrong.

When put-upon 12-year-old Sam (Maurice Luijten) reports seeing a real life manifestation of campfire legend Kai in the forest, it only serves to attract more bullying from his fellow scouts and his jackboot bro troop leader Peter (Stef Aerts).

Through the goading, Sam remains certain that a dark creature is lurking in the trees. Finally, he plucks up the courage to climb toward the monster’s treehouse lair, where he finds a feral boy (Gill Eeckelaert).

But how could this kid, who cannot, we discover, even operate a can opener, have created so many elaborate booby traps around the area? Perhaps he is not alone, as the scouts will soon, alas, find out.

Made on a small budget and largely funded through an IndieGoGo campaign, Cub is characterised by terrific performances (especially from the pre-teen cast), playfully ghoulish bloodwork, and the most inventive instruments of death we’ve seen since the Saw franchise ran out of ideas.

The film does not entirely explain itself, but it does enough to ensure that genre fans will applaud and whoop with delight during the grisly bits.

You might even say they’ll be in for a big surprise. Or two.