TIFF ’14 Trailer: “CUB” Looks Like a Midnight Madness Must

We’re less than a week out from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and its storied Midnight Madness program, one that annually introduces audiences and readers to the genre films they’ll be talking about in the ensuing months. If this trailer is in any indication, Belgian filmmaker Jonas Govaerts and his feature debut CUB look to become a particularly hot topic.

Cub scouts, haunting accapella folk songs and truly ominous imagery give CUB a standout look. The film follows “a troupe of young Cub Scouts who find themselves stalked by a psychopathic huntsman who has riddled the forest with ingenious and deadly traps.” Though survival horror it sounds, the film looks to be set mostly at night in a vast forest, giving the trailer (which debuted at The Playlist) a more folkloric, eerie vibe.

Midnight Madness programmer Colin Geddes expands in the Film Guide:

Troubled twelve-year-old Sam (Maurice Luijten) heads off on a summer camping trip with his Cub Scout troupe. When the highly imaginative boy claims to have seen a creature in the woods, his counsellors naturally assume that their campfire tales of a monster named Kai have gotten to him. But the danger Sam sees is all too real: watching from the darkness is a masked, feral child whose menacing snarl and quick movements go unnoticed by all except for Sam. As the mocking taunts of the other boys isolate Sam further from his pack, he becomes increasingly convinced that a terrible fate awaits them all.

In Cub, first-time feature director Jonas Govaerts draws on such influences as Lord of the Flies and The Devil’s Backbone to create a world filled with vivid childhood terrors. An atmosphere of danger and foreboding surrounds the young boys and their mostly clueless scout leaders, none of whom can see that they are the quarry in a sinister hunt — and as a series of ingenious booby traps start bloodily whittling down the troop’s numbers, it becomes clear that the boys are up against a foe far more formidable than even the perceptive Sam realizes.

Brilliantly evoking the sensation of cowering behind tent flaps while unseen dangers roam the dark woods outside, Cub marks Govaerts as a bold new voice in horror cinema: one who understands both the art of storytelling and the complex craft of inspiring real fear.

CUB World Premieres Wednesday, September 10th as part of Midnight Madness. For more on the film, and for tickets, visit its TIFF home here. Next week on Fango, we’ll preview all of the Midnight Madness titles with exclusive comments from Geddes.

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Samuel Zimmerman
Fangoria.com Managing Editor Samuel Zimmerman has been at FANGORIA since 2009, where fresh out of the Purchase College Cinema Studies program, he began as an editorial assistant. Since, he’s honed both his writing and karaoke skills and been trusted with the responsibility of jury duty at Austin’s incredible Fantastic Fest. Zimmerman lives in and hails from The Bronx, New York where his pants are too tight and he’ll watch anything with witches.
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