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Cub…also known as Welp…is a Belgian horror flick that takes place in the remote French woodlands with a group of Flemish Cub Scouts on a camping trip. To spice things up for the excursion, the scout leaders (Titus De Voogdt and Stef Aerts) have told the scouts a story about a feral boy named Kai, who roams these woods and can transform himself into a werewolf at night. Troubled loner Sam (Maurice Luijten) has taken this campfire story very seriously…and maybe he should. As once the troop enters the dense woods, they soon find out that maybe there is some truth to this fireside tale after all.
Directed by Jonas Govaerts, who co-wrote with Roel Mondelaers, this is an effective and entertaining little horror that can be quite brutal and gruesome despite it’s large cast of kids. Being a European production, this bloody little flick doesn’t operate under the same PC guidelines as American features do and isn’t afraid to ‘go there’ when it comes to putting it’s young characters in harm’s way…or sometimes portraying them as just being kids. There are some very spooky sequences and some very violent ones, too, as there is indeed someone…or something…lurking in the woods. As in most horror, there are some questions that don’t get answered and the ending isn’t totally a surprise, but it is a satisfying 80+ minutes of backwoods horror and presented with a nice visual eye by director Govaerts. Supporting him is some effective cinematography by Nicolas Karakatsanis, of the forest setting and of the old factory that comes into play later on, and there is a very Carpenter-ish electronic score by Steve Moore.
The cast are all fine, especially the kids lead by Maurice Luijten as Sam. Sam is a likable hero and the flick puts him through the ringer at times and Luijten plays his transition from loner to fighter very well. Titus De Voogdt and Stef Aerts are solid as the scout leaders Chris and Peter. Chris being the level headed adult and Peter being more immature and less responsible. Evelien Bosmans is pretty and likable as the expedition cook, Jasmine and object of Sam’s crush. She shows some spunk later on when things get rough and is one of the few to defend Sam when he is blamed for acts he didn’t commit. A decent cast where the kids perform some tough sequences and very well.
I liked this little flick. It’s not perfect, but it was entertaining and had some nice tension and good gore FX. The characters all worked well and young Maurice Luijten did a good job as Sam. There is some nice atmosphere and while it is not an unfamiliar story, it was told effectively and well. An entertaining little horror and hopefully a sign of good things to come from Jonas Govaerts.
Rated 3 (out of 4) Cubs.