Director: Andrew Jones | Run time: ’80 minutes’ | Sony Pictures | On sale 16th October
On April 11th 1981, Sue Sharp and her family are enjoying their stay at Cabin 28 in the peaceful holiday resort of Keddie. But a day of fun at the remote getaway turns into a heart stopping nightmare as nightfall brings masked strangers to the Cabin. A brutal battle for survival leaves several members of the family dead and one missing. An extensive police investigation follows but no one is convicted of the crime.
Cabin 28 takes the unsolved killings of a family one night in 1981 as its source material and fails to make a good movie from it.
The murders, referred to as the Keddie Murders, happened in the town of Keddie, California in April ’81 when three people were killed in cabin 28 and another person went missing (their remains were found later, making this a quadruple homicide). It is believed there was more than one killer and they have never been caught. Not much is known about why the crimes happened. The murders have caused debate and speculation ever since.
This feature is not the first to attempt to envision what happened that fateful night. The best known example is The Strangers (2008) although this rewrites history somewhat and changes dates, places and victims. Cabin 28 boasts it is based on the events that inspired The Strangers (what a convoluted boast that is) which is no doubt meant to draw potential views.
Cabin 28 trys to be more faithful to the facts, unlike The Strangers, but suffers in other areas. The acting is the biggest culprit and has already been singled out by those that have seen the movie. The mask wearing torturers give performances that are unintentionally funny. They wildly wave their arms, wag knives at peoples faces and grunt like gorillas while trying to frighten the victims. Granted they are wearing masks so cannot convey emotion in the traditional ways, but the mime act is over the top.
Its ‘star’ is Terri Dwyer, dressed as Olive from On the Buses (Google it). Dwyer is best known for her stint in UK teen soap opera Hollyoaks and presenting TV shows like 60 Minute Makeover and Loose Women. She feels out of place here as Sue, the mother of the family. Her American accent sometimes starts to slip and her naturally husky voice can be heard.
At points the characters can be heard watching Night of the Living Dead (the classic is never shown on screen), this homage to Romero will make viewers yearn to be watching his seminal work instead.
Andrew Jones is a solid director, with a steady flow of work. He is responsible for straight to DVD titles that are similar but not quite like more known horror flicks. The Last House on Cemetery Lane (2015), Poltergeist Activity (2015) and a franchise in the form of Robert (2015) and the sequels that the haunted doll flick have generated. Jones already has a few films in production.
The end credits last nearly 10 minutes. A blatant attempt to drag out the run time they roll at a snails pace.
Cabin 28 tries to stay true to the horror that inspired it but is flawed in several other aspects.