I am not sure anyone wants to have an experience like the one in Cub, unless you are just watching the movie. If it is just the movie you want to watch, I think you are all right. Still, while this is far from a great film, and not quite as good as I was expecting, it is still worth spending some time with and being thankful that your camping experiences did not turn out like this. In the end, I would have liked to have seen and known more, but that is not the way it goes with the perspective they chose to go from, a perspective that works both for and against the film makers.
The film, originally called Welp (a title I prefer, regardless of language), hails from Belgium. Cub was directed by Jonas Govaerts, who co-wrote the film with Roel Mondelaers. It is the debut feature for both men and was partially funded through crowdfunding channels. It is clear they did not have a great amount of money to work with, but they did put something on the screen worth checking out.
Cub opens promisingly enough with a woman being pursued through the woods. She is frantically trying to get away from her mud-caked pursuer. She sees the lights of passing cars through the trees. She breaks free from the treeline to find the passing cars are... a lie! An elaborate gimmick to trick people. She turns and is grabbed by the throat by an unseen assailant. The credits roll and Cub begins.
The thing about this camping trip and Sam's troubled life and lone exploring is that none of it goes the way it is planned. The leaders are bickering with each other, they have to use a different camp location, and they end up on the grounds of a closed factory where some of the former employees did not take well to their firing.
I do not want give too much away, but it should be pretty clear that the legend Sam calls Kai is real and he is out to cause some real mischief. The problem is that Kai is not alone. There is someone else in the woods and he does not take kindly to visitors. Yes, the whole thing starts off a bit slow, but it gets progressively crazier as people start to disappear and die. Then it goes completely off the rails as they get deeper into the final act.
What it comes down to is Cub is a good movie that is similar, yet different, horror movie that will keep you a little off guard. Its story is well executed, well acted, and well shot. It is a movie that is familiar enough to have fun with and different enough to be intriguing. Leave some things to be desired? Sure, but we cannot be looking for perfection. On entertainment, this delivers.
The Blu-ray release from Artsploitation Films looks and sounds great. The film is in a ratio of 2.35:1 and has nice color depth and retains a good detail level even during the darker sequences (of which there are many). The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is nice and clear, and the electronic score just sounds great.
On the extras front:
- Deleted scenes (6:47). There is a different introduction of Sam and his home life and one of the leaders picking up another of the group.
- VFX Reel (3:03). A breakdown of how some of the shots were composited.
- Short Film: Of Cats and Women (13:15). An early short from Jonas Govaerts.
- Music Video: Deadsets “One Hour” (3:37). Music video directed by Jonas Govaerts.
- Trailers. Cub, Bloody Knuckles, Der Samurai, The Treatment.