“Cabin Tales” is an extremely low-budget anthology from writer/director Justin Russell. In the film, three teens arrive at a secluded cabin, and regale each other with gritty little horror stories. Woe to these teens when the tales run out, because when it is over, it is really over.
Some college age friends spend a weekend at a Cabin telling spooky stories until they end up having their own creepy encounter.
It is easy for reviewers to bash local indie, low-budget films like this one, and I will not lie, there are certainly places where we can find fault. The overall run time of 42 minutes is a bit short for a feature. The acting, in general, is not great. The cinematography falls short throughout the film. The writing could use some work, especially in building suspense, and putting a solid beginning, middle, and end on the story segments.
For me, however, it is the nuggets of goodness that I discovered when watching “Cabin Tales” that make the film more palatable. Nuggets like the opening song, “A Murder Story,” by Mary Riddle, which plays over the opening credits like a tune from an Alfred Hitchcock movie. There were nuggets like some of the acting that stood apart from the rest, such as Dean (Zachery Combs) in the wraparound and Tina (Michelle Luckey) in “Shadow.” Nuggets like promising story ideas, which I would like to see more fleshed out, like “Interrogation.” Fan favorites “X-Files” and “Men in Black” are referenced. And I would be remiss if I failed to mention the great song, “Sleeper,” by Deaf Election, from the closing credits. For me, these are the moments that keep me going.
The thing many people inevitably fail to appreciate is the passion, the desire, and the sheer tenacity that give birth to films like “Cabin Tales.” While the acting, cinematography, and writing could be improved, I found myself enjoying the nuggets. I watched each segment, appreciating the effort that everyone put forward, and I applauded them.
“Cabin Tales” is a flawed film, and not for everyone, but it is a spunky little movie with a lot of heart.
amateur film-maker, professional zombie