Monday, 20 April 2015
MOVIE: The Cabin, aka Bloodline (2013)
US 2013 (copyrighted 2011), Osiris/Oasis, 88m
DVD: 101 Films (UK), Cert 18
In the 18th century, a group of American settlers are cursed by a Shaman for killing one of his family. 250 years later, a trainee for the priesthood questions his faith. He heads with some friends to his family's remote cabin, in order to reflect on his position. However, he discovers his link to the earlier atrocity has placed him and his friends in danger...
Another week, another cabin movie. Group of friends head to middle of nowhere. Car breaks down. Slightly threatening authority figure gives "you kids should have stayed away from here" type speech. Overweight "comedy relief" character annoys the hell out of anyone watching. You know the drill.
In this case, everything starts off interestingly enough, with a flashback sequence which shows the events which led to the prospective preacher's family getting cursed, but after that things grind to a virtual halt and take the best part of an hour to pick up again.
A muddled screenplay seems to be the main culprit, since it doesn't seem able to make up its mind whether to follow the conventions of a cabin-horror to the letter or to aim for something a bit more leftfield. Ultimately, neither element gets a chance to engage, and the end result doesn't make a lot of sense.
Ideas/threads appear then disappear without any real explanation. A dog who may/may not be something to do with the whole thing slips in and out of proceedings as if they're randomly wandering on to the set, whilst a Native American who gives the impression of being an important character seems to stumble in equally randomly.
Bloodline (to give it its proper title) certainly looks good on the screen in terms of photography, but that's nowhere near enough to compensate for its narrative deficiencies, and you're left with the nagging feeling that this was just a rewrite or two away from actually being pretty good.