Back in May, we first introduced you to this promising horredy. One preview and two interviews later, we finally had the pleasure of watching it for ourselves and let me start by saying, The Cabining was worth the wait.
The plot focuses on Todd and Bruce, a pair of ill-fated screenwriters who, just as everything starts to crumble around them, have been given one last shot by Todd’s wealthy stepfather who promises to fund the entire project if they can write a decent horror script in two weeks. Void of inspiration and with their deadline drawing ever closer, the pair decide to go to a tranquil artist’s retreat. However, Shangri-La proves to be anything but serene as, one by one, the resident artists wind up dead. Bruce tries to convince Todd that their prayers for inspiration have been answered and that they should use their current circumstances to fuel their screenplay, but things soon begin to unravel when Todd starts to suspect that Bruce may be the one behind the murders.
Written and directed by Steve Kopera and starring brother Mike Kopera and Bo Keister as Todd and Bruce, this independent horror comedy manages to perfectly capture the balance between the two genres, something that many films of this ilk fail to do. That being said, it definitely sits more on the comedy side of the fence. Steve has done an excellent job with the script, naturally weaving the humour into the plot without it seeming too hammy or out of place. I particularly enjoyed the dialogue around the rules and clichés of the horror genre. Whilst it’s not particularly new ground (Scream etc), it’s fitting with the plot and managed to make me chuckle a few times.
Equally, the lead actors both deliver solid, believable performances and bring the script and its natural humour to life expertly. Mike and Bo have excellent on-screen chemistry and play off of each other well. You really do believe that these two guys have a solid ‘bromance’ even without the camera rolling, which is always nice. The supporting cast were also admirable, with Melissa Mars and Angela Relucio turning in particularly fine performances as two of the artists in residence.
One thing that really struck me about The Cabining was how well it had been made. Going far beyond the means of a general indie film, it boasts crisp, steady camera work, good lighting (though there are a few issues during some of the outdoor scenes), clear sound and excellent post-production. Equally, the location was spot-on and I found the score to be very effective in building tension during some of the films more eerie scenes.
From a horror point of view, I must confess that The Cabining is a little lacking and it does take a fair bit of time to get to any of the horror elements. I’m not overly keen on gore, so I found the overall lack of it quite welcome, but any gore hounds out there would be sorely disappointed. There are some great effects and prosthetic pieces, however.
All in all, a fun way to kill 80 minutes and The Cabining is definitely a film I’ll definitely be watching again.
For more information check out The Cabining’s Facebook page and follow them on Twitter at @TheCabining