Ostensibly based upon the true story of the 1981 Keddie murders, albeit described in the opening caption as “entirely fictitious”, Cabin 28 affects to finally resolve the truth about who killed Sue Sharp and three of the six children staying with her on the Keddie Resort Road that April night. And while it points the finger very distinctly at perhaps three of the four people it decides were responsible, Andrew Jones’ film is such a muddle of invention and insubstantiation, it’s as difficult to credit its conclusions with any veracity, as it is to enjoy such a slight and yet ponderous film in its own right (In order to bulk up the running time, a single page of credits crawls up the screen at about the speed Marion Crane makes it to Bates’ place in Gus van Sant’s Psycho remake – and that’s symptomatic of the entire production).
To be fair, the build-up to the event is better handled than it might have been, the highlight of sorts being the conversation Harriet Rees’ Tina (twelve in “real life”, rather older here, and pinpointed as the possible reason for the brutal deaths) has with one of the prospective killers through the cabin door. Despite the archness of her potential attacker’s performance (some of the acting is straight out of a junior school production, although some is rather better), this sequence is probably about as eerie and as tense as Cabin 28 gets. Thereafter there’s a lot of very slow travelling around a very small location as the writer and director attempt to drag the killings out to fill the middle third of a film that, to its credit, at least attempts to illustrate a snapshot of the incident’s aftermath.
There’s an attempt, in the use of sourced music, to give the killings themselves the feel of something far more creative and intelligent, but the lack of imagination in the cinematography and editing instead makes the sequence feel trite and contrived, as if the filmmakers know how little flair they’ve brought to the production and are attempting to repair some of the damage after the fact. Also repairing things after the fact is the repeated use of slow motion and monochrome flashbacks, slowing the final few minutes to something less than a crawl as Jones desperately tries to extend the running time to what casual renters might consider “feature length”.
There are less productive ways to waste an hour and ten minutes of your time, but most of them involve wet paint that’s already been applied. A few examples of some nice photography and what can best be described as an eccentric score aside, this isn’t going to reward you seeking it out.
CABIN 28 / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: ANDREW JONES / SCREENPLAY: JOHN KLYZA / STARRING: TERI DWYER, HARRIET REES, BRENDEE GREEN, GARETH LAWRENCE, LINNY BUSHEY, LEE BANE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW