Blood Cabin a.k.a. Murder Loves Killers Too, 2009.
Directed by Drew Barnhardt.
Starring Christine Haeberman, Allen Andrews, Mary Legault and Scott Nadler.
A group of teenagers are murdered one by one during their weekend away at a remote cabin.
Remote cabins are a heavy staple of horror/slasher films. It worked for The Evil Dead and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and there is no doubt that this set up is going to deviate in more modern releases. Well not too soon anyway. Blood Cabin is an upcoming low budget slasher film, and when I say low budget, I mean really low budget.
It’s the typical set up: a bunch of drunk teens (each one annoying in a specific way) go up to a remote cabin in the middle of the woods to quaff, faff and fornicate. There’s the egotistical, yet spotty, main man, the slutty blonde, the beardy indie chap, the sensible brunette and for some reason some shrieking, barely legal harridan snuck aboard the car with them. It’s a wonder that she was killed off on the way to the cabin. I was so satisfied when she was the first one to expire as she was in danger of giving me a migraine.
The killings start without any warning whatsoever and the killer himself is left to a bit of a mystery until the last ten minutes (I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s worth watching just to see). Big Stevie is the balding middle aged killer in this romp and could easily have been mistaken for one of the teenagers' disapproving father. After seeing him slice up his first couple of victims, I couldn’t help but feel that there was some kind of relevant reason for this. Maybe because those damn kids kept playing their terrible music loudly throughout the film and it was interrupting his work in the study. Funny things drive you to murder you know!
Presentation-wise, the film feels extremely low budget, as I mentioned, but it doesn’t get any ideas above its station. Director Drew Barnhardt seems to have taken a simple premise, a minimal group of amateur actors and kept the entire film contained within a generic plotline and nothing too adventurous in terms of narrative. The camera feel like it’s being used by an unseen sixth teenager who wasn’t invited to the party and knows little of the concepts of fish eye lens and tripod. If the camera isn’t jerkily roaming the cabin, it’s got a fish eye lens taped on to make the cabin more bendy than necessary. It looks good for a student film, but even then I would take marks off for lack of adequate editing.
Before the halfway point, two thirds of the main cast are slaughtered, leaving the sensible girl and the crazed, but oddly calm killer. Somehow the film started to improve after this point as an amateur game of cat and mouse takes place before she is captured by Big Stevie. Up to this point, Big Stevie seemed a quiet and mysterious killer, but then he calmly, and surprisingly eloquently, explains to a gagged and tied victim what he intends to do and apologises for any discomfort. Suddenly, the film seemed to have changed gear from simple slasher to borderline spoof. Big Stevie’s monologue in the scene was delivered in such a comedic and deadpan manner that it came across as a lampoon. And I think Barnhardt meant this, too.
Blood Cabin is about an hour in length, but it’s the last twenty minutes that really stand out and, dare I say, actually make the film worth a watch. Just make sure you have a decent film to watch afterwards as this is a stupendously low budget film, in case I forgot to mention.
Will Preston is a student at the University of Portsmouth. He writes for various blogs (including his own website), presents a weekly radio show on PURE FM and makes various short films.
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