Cannibal Cabin Bites Off More Than It Can Chew in Derivative Hillbilly Horror

If you’re a fan of the kind of horror that defined The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Wrong Turn, the latest addition to rural or hillbilly horror has arrived on VOD platforms. Courtesy of Lionsgate Films, British hillbilly horror Cannibal Cabin looks to join the likes of Eden Lake as hip, young ‘city folk’ take a shortcut into the wrong part of the country. No one’s expecting The Wicker Man – this is the kind of premise that comes with some basic expectations. To date, no reviews are available so this one’s an unknown entity for incoming audiences.

Synopsis

On route to a music festival, a group of twentysomething friends take a shortcut and find themselves lost in the countryside. When they buy a map from an eccentric pair of shop owners the friends find themselves stranded at an abandoned warehouse inhabited by ruthless cannibals.

Cannibal Cabin is a Premise in Search of a Movie

Cannibal Cabin is a bad movie. A really bad movie. Plenty of low-budget horror movies overcome limitations to be entertaining or even at least guilty pleasures. There’s also nothing wrong with a derivative pleasure – this one promises some good, old-fashioned hillbilly cannibal horror and that’s fine. Too bad absolutely nothing works here. Following what seems to be a pointless prologue, Cannibal Cabin immediately bungles its own premise. No one in this movie is even looking for a cabin; they’re taking a shortcut to a festival. In fact, there is no cabin in this movie. Writer Charley McDougall and director Louisa Warren do give us a warehouse that serves as a ‘lair’ for random cannibals.

As for the cannibals themselves, they’re just a random collection of hillbilly stereotypes with no purpose

This brings us to one of the more minor grievances in Cannibal Cabin. No one expects elevated horror out of the premise. Nonetheless, this one has no story or plotting outside of its basic premise. The ‘twentysomething’s’ lack any sort of character – you’ll struggle to remember anyone’s name. As for the cannibals themselves, they’re just a random collection of hillbilly stereotypes with no purpose other than to fulfil the title of the movie. Stereotypes abound, substituting for even minimal character definition. Just in the third act alone, the word ‘city folk’ gets uttered several times.

Cannibal Cabin Frequently Dull, Occasionally Tasteless

Somehow Warren and McDougall thought there was enough here to justify a 90 minute runtime. What’s interesting is that Cannibal Cabin is at its best in the dragging middle act where nothing happens simply because at least things look like a functional movie. Anytime the ‘story’ requires action or ‘things happening’, the production looks clumsy and amateurish. Choppy editing and cheap-looking props abound. Dialogue in one scene feels awkwardly dubbed into the movie. When a melodramatic scores isn’t drowning out everything else, one scene features a contemporary so wildly out of sync with what’s happening on screen that it’s unintentionally funny.

Anytime the ‘story’ requires action or ‘things happening’, the production looks clumsy and amateurish. Choppy editing and cheap-looking props abound.

As for the cannibal gore itself, a handful of problems emerge. First and foremost, Cannibal Cabin delivers some at the start and later in the finale but it’s inconspicuously absent for most of the runtime. The ‘cannibalism’ just also sort of randomly happens with the villains taking bites or cutting chunks off characters. While the practical gore effects look cheap, the bigger problem is just the sheer tastelessness of it. That is, Warren and McDougall wrench in a final twist that’s not only ridiculous but way beyond violating taboos.

Cannibal Cabin a Cannibal Horror Movie Well Past Its Expiration Date

No one wants to pick on an indie horror movie. Genre fans are better off when passionate people can bring their visions to life on screen even if the final product is rough around the edges. But reviews need to be honest so audiences can sort through the sheer volume of offerings. Sadly, Cannibal Cabin has nothing worth recommending. A derivative premise, lack of story and characters, poor pacing, tasteless and clumsily staged horror – this one just doesn’t work at all. Maybe there’s some unintentional laughs for B-movie fans. Everyone else can just skip this one.

THE PROFESSOR’S FINAL GRADE: F

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I am a Criminology professor in Canada but I've always had a passion for horror films. Over the years I've slowly begun incorporating my interest in the horror genre into my research. After years of saying I wanted to write more about horror I have finally decided to create my own blog where I can share some of my passion and insights into the films I love.

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