Dir. Jonas Govaerts
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
If you go into the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise. THE DESCENT meets WRONG TURN in Jonas Govaerts creature feature with bite. What appears to be a monster in the woods, soon evolves into something more human as a group of cub scouts embark on a camping trip that may be their last.
Both Kris (Titus De Voogdt), Peter (Stef Aerts) and Jasmijn (Evelien Bosmans) do their best to tame the school boys but there’s much more than imagination at play as Sam (Maurice Luijten) learns the dangers of the woods along with a mysterious past are two ingredients that should be kept apart.
CUB grabs you from the start and like a ravage beast never lets go. At only 84 minutes long, there’s plenty to fill the short running time and as the action unfolds it’s always pleasing to watch. Each shot is laced in a murky lens that looks familiar to mid 2000’s horrors and as the death toll rises, so does the mystery of what is really happening in the midst of the woods.
Despite a modern visual and reminiscent to some of the genre’s blood and mud wrapped movies, there’s a very 80’s touch to be seen here. Urban legends, the boys sharing a copy of playboy and a soundtrack that joins the modern trend of neon synths, Govarts wants you to know where his idols are and takes one step closer to putting his own name in that category of genre greats.
Maurice Luijten is pitch perfect as the troubled 12 year old and it will be interesting to see where both he and his character go next. There are a number of unanswered questions that a sequel needs to explore. As a standalone film, CUB has too many gaps to be an instant classic but could be the platform for a series that makes it one. The issue is that the ambiguity around Sam’s past leaves his ease to relate with the evil in the woods a little unbelievable.
For a directorial debut, Govaerts has taken a slice of the blood drenched cake that is begging for him to finish it off. Putting a firm knowledge of how to handle the mechanics of a genre classic and delivering on what the audience want; Blood, guts, suspense and mystery. Scouts honour!