New to video on demand services this week is "The Cabin" - an indie horror flick written by Erik Kammerland and directed by Johan Bodell that tells the story of a falling apart relationship and a vacation to a cabin in the middle of nowhere in an attempt save it. Harry (played by Christopher Lee Page) and Rose (Caitlin Crommett) seem fully aware in that their relationship is a mess, so Harry decides to take his obnoxious, whiny girlfriend to a cabin that his family owns, hoping that this last ditch effort to spend time together will reconcile the love between the two of them. But as they approach the property, they receive an unwelcome greeting from Sven - an off putting, untrusting Swedish guy who emerges from a cabin on the opposite side of the lake from where the couple needs to be. After some awkward conversation, Sven agrees to let the couple borrow the row boat to paddle their way across the lake to the family cabin, as Rose complains literally every second of the trip. Once there, the fighting between the two lovebirds continues to escalate pretty much into the night. As the couple sleeps quietly in the cabin for the night, windows begin to shatter and the chase is on as Sven hunts the young couple through the woods to watch them shed some blood. There's no one around for miles and miles - so it's up to Rose and Harry to survive the chase all on their own... will they survive or will they succumb to Sven's evil ways?
After seeing the trailer for The Cabin (also referred to as A Night in the Cabin), I really wanted to fall in love with this film; it's no secret that I'm a big fan of horror films that could pass as "real life" terror. So when I saw the trailer and The Cabin appeared to fall along the lines of The Strangers in terms of action, I was pretty stoked to get to watching. I think the premise of everyday, ordinary people doing ordinary things and having things turn ugly makes for great horror. It pains me to say that as much as I wanted to love this movie, The Cabin unfortunately fails to deliver. Story wise, the film is average and doesn't have anything that really stands out (which is fine because like I said, I don't mind "everyday story lines") but it's the cat-and-mouse chase that I had really high hopes for that just didn't pan out the way I had hoped. Once Sven's hunt for Harry and Rose began, it's a pretty uneventful and even boring chase through the woods. The whole time Sven is trying to invoke terror in this couple, I found myself hoping something - anything - would happen that would make it a memorable sequence. But unfortunately, it feels like the chase leads to a predictable, unexciting ending that leaves more to be desired. The chase sequence in films like these are often just as important as the endings are - they are the moments that will leave the audience wowed and in a hurry to tell their friends about how crazy a movie was. In terms of the characters, the only main characters you'll encounter in The Cabin are the couple - Rose and Harry - and the predator Sven. Nothing really special to write home about as far as the characters go, but again, for a movie like this that's not really a big deal; I don't think you're really meant to fall in love with any of them, you're just supposed to watch as the horror unfolds. Sven - played by Erik Kammerland - is an interesting character, though. I'm not entirely sure what it is, but there's something I actually liked about the guy. There are other scenes you'll find Sven in (that I'm avoiding sharing here in an attempt to refrain from spoiling anything) that are actually highly entertaining - I would have loved to see more of those. He does do this weird dog-bark intimidation thing that reminds me a lot of Jack Torrance yelling as he's chasing Wendy and it's really just... weird, I'm not entirely sure what the hell that was all about.
All of this leads to the final question of, is sitting through all of this worth the pay off at the end? Honestly, no - The Cabin just doesn't do what I had hoped it would do for me. There was definitely some good moments in the film - like the beautiful landscape, the excellent opening scene and those unmentionable scenes with Sven - but The Cabin just falls short of being worth your money. The ending is pretty predictable and dull, and honestly just isn't worth sitting through an hour and fifteen minutes to get to. Reflecting back on the movie, I feel like this would have been really good as maybe a twenty or thirty minute short film, where a lot of the extra fat is cut out and you're left with a very straight-to-the-action short. I feel like maybe this would have improved my judgment of the movie, and it wouldn't have felt so stretched out for nothing. But like I said, as much as I wanted to love The Cabin, it just didn't do it for me unfortunately.