Flick finds a young couple, James (Owen Lawless) and artist Myra (Carmen Anello), traveling to a remote cabin in the woods…which is never a good idea in a horror movie…to work on repairing their relationship. The cabin was the home of James’ grandparents (Lynn Lowry and Bruce Smith), till his grandmother was murdered and his grandfather disappeared after going mad. How these two thought this was a good spot for date weekend is the film’s biggest mystery. Once there, Myra begins to hear voices and suffer time losses, while James gets bitten by a strange creature and begins to transform into something unearthly. Relationship problems are now the least of their worries.
Cabin in the woods horror is directed by Austin Snell from his script with Jake Jackson. It’s a noble effort and Snell directs it well enough despite the scatterbrained story. It’s hard to believe anyone would go to a cabin with such an unpleasant personal history, no matter how picturesque it might be. The scenes between the couple are done well and once things start to get going, there are a few spooky moments. It is somewhat atmospheric. The story is where the film has it’s biggest drawbacks. There is something supernatural going on at the cabin, but we never get any kind of explanation, or hint, as to what. If there is some kind of demonic presence, then what is the mutant fish creature that bites and ultimately transforms James? His grandfather apparently went mad, yet James turns into a monster. What exactly is going on here? We never find out. The climax was also a bit of a head scratcher, as it’s not clear if the grandparents returned, or Myra is seeing past events. Again, what exactly is going on here? On a technical level, the film looks good on a supposed $20,000 budget and the make-up FX are well done. There is also a cool electronic score by Joshua Luttrell that is very 80s. With a better script and story, Snell might deliver something solid. Here things are a bit too much of a mess, story-wise, to really click.
As for our cast, pretty Carmen Anello does a good job as Myra. She’s a likable character and she makes a good final girl. She comes across as a real person. The actress is also a trooper, as the credits list her as part of the SPFX make-up crew and also playing “Grandfather Creature.” On a low budget film like this, one can find themselves wearing many hats. Owen Lawless is fine as James. He and Anello have a decent chemistry and it is in the early scenes when the character’s are going through some emotional awkwardness, Lawless seems the most natural. Bruce Smith and Lynn Lowry play the grandparents and they are seen in flashbacks and possible hallucinations, it’s not clear.
Exposure isn’t a great movie, but it’s one where the effort is noticeable and adds some charm. It’s heart is in the right place and the filmmakers try hard. On a production level, it looks good on a low budget, has some solid make-up FX and the cast, especially lead Carmen Anello, are effective. The story is where the flick suffers, as it’s not ever clear as to what is actually going on here. Some of it, like creature James firing his nails at Myra like knives, gets a bit silly. This indie horror is still worth a look if you like low budget flicks and enjoy seeing filmmakers getting their movies made, even if not totally successfully.
Flick is available to stream on Amazon Prime and to buy on Scream Team Releasing’s website… https://screamteamreleasing.com/
Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) axes, mostly for effort.