James Simpson Reviews Raven’s Cabin (UK DVD, 2014)

Release Date: August 11th 2014
Year: 2014
Director: Loren Johnson
Cast: Andrea Burdett, John McPherson, Luke Ledger, Pia Prendiville
Themes: Australian, ghost story, supernatural, teens, boot camp, premonitions

Ravens Cabin A number of TV shows have been created in the past decade that feature children being difficult to control. From Supernanny, with toddlers punching their distraught mothers, to Brat Camp, spoiled moody teens at an army camp, these TV programmes revel in the misery the naughty kids cause for their parents. Raven’s Cabin is a film that takes the concept of sending misbehaved teens away to a camp and turns up the dial.

A young woman is shown gagged and tied to a bed. She is struggling to get away as footage of her being molested by her captor flashes across the screen. She manages to escape but her abuser has returned. After this several teens are shown going about their lives when men appear from nowhere and kidnap them. The hostages are thrown into dorm like rooms at what turns out to be a ‘youth behaviour modification facility’ named Redwood. The men in charge have been hired by the parents of the kidnapped. They will keep the teens there and put them through a gruelling experience in order to alter their behaviour and attitudes: to stop being delinquents. The men running Redwood camp are sadistic and enjoy humiliating the youths. The treatment is so bad one girl hanged herself a few years before. As time drags by some of the teenagers begin to suffer horrific visions of a dead girl, the same girl seen earlier in the film. They start to fear they could suffer the same fate.

Raven’s Cabin feels like the already mentioned Brat Camp crossed with The Eye (2002). The first half concentrates on the punishment of the unruly teens while the second takes on a supernatural tone as characters see the tortured girl and experience premonitions.

The arrogant and slightly crazed camp instructors come across as highly unlike-able, especially Harris played by McPherson, which is no doubt the purpose of these characters. While the setting is called a ‘youth behaviour modification facility’ it is obvious the hapless teens are at boot camp. The treatment is often inhumane – anyone that doesn’t follow the rules spends three days locked in a cage outside without any food or water. Of course the parents don’t know this until one former attendee tells a police officer (who then decides to visit the facility).

The supernatural elements of the story aren’t highly original but are acted out well by the young cast. The mystery of the ghostly girl is intriguing and gives the plot a ‘who dunnit?’ twist although the outcome might not shock many watching.

The extras are a short video introduction to Raven’s Cabin by cheery director Loren Johnson, a 4 minute Behind the Scenes featurette (which is actually just some photos shown as music plays) and trailers for the movie as well as several other Monster Pictures releases.

An entertaining and well acted middle-of-the-road Australian horror that is short and sweet.

Released by Monster Pictures

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Categories: 00's horror, Reviews

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