Cub, film review: Flemish horror film becomes nastier, more sadistic and ever more derivative

(15) Jonas Govaerts, 85 mins. Starring: Maurice Luijten, Gill Eeckelaert
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The Independent Culture

This posturing Flemish-made horror film is strikingly shot by young Belgian cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis (Bullhead, The Drop) but is very strangely pitched.

It seems at first like a Lord of the Flies-style rites-of-passage fable about the misadventures of some young cub-scouts in the deep, dark woods. We learn early on that a local business closed. There were redundancies and then suicides in the part of the forest where the kids have set up their camp. A masked child is running amok and he has a mysterious connection to a psychopathic poacher.

The carefree high spirits of the early scenes give way to a far grimmer and bloodier style of storytelling. There are traces of Eli Roth-style torture porn about the final reel . When he is threatened, sensitive little 12-year-old Sam, the loner in the group, turns out to have a streak of extreme viciousness about him. The film itself becomes nastier, more sadistic and ever more derivative the longer it progresses.