Raven’s Cabin (2012) DVD Review


Directed By: Loren Johnson

Written By: Katrina Rodriguez

Starring: Andrea Burdett, Luke Ledger, Pia Prendiville, Mauricio Merino Jr

UK Certification: 15

RRP: £9.99

Running Time: 89 minutes

Distributor: Monster Pictures

UK Release Date: 11th August 2014

When the director of a $50,000AUD budgeted Aussie film with a cast of largely first-time actors and crew states that he endeavoured to create a similar atmosphere to that of Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), you have to admire his ambition. Frustrated with the opportunities that lay within the barren film community of Perth, Loren Johnson decided to be proactive and raise a budget while casting his net wide and far for an inspiring script. Once found, and with a cast assembled that included a debut performance from Luke Ledger – cousin of Heath, the stressful process of low budget filmmaking began.

Deep in the Australian bush reside a group of disaffected teenagers with behavioural difficulties who were taken by force from their homes, carried by van with a bag over their heads, and dumped unceremoniously in this outback location. For the group it’s a traumatic undertaking but as the new additions realise where they are, registration begins to take place in the style of a highly disciplined military orientated roll call. This proves an opportunity to discover the reasons for the kids being here – from stealing money, to going AWOL, to taking drugs. Youth behaviour modification is the modus operandi for the camp and the teens find themselves in a highly regimented routine.

RAVEN 002On the outside, unbeknown to the group a former resident of this boot camp has been to the police to inform them of his mistreatment, a claim that the police are treating seriously. The police inspector decides to take a trip up to Camp Redback to see for himself how accurate these claims are, and quickly gets the impression things aren’t quite what they seem. Meanwhile, the appearance of a ghostly apparition alludes to the fact that some long buried secrets are about to come to the fore.

While praise is indeed due solely for the production, completion and distribution of this low budget movie, I can’t help but shed some negativity on proceedings with the absence of resolute direction within the movie. I thought the structure of the movie was a little inconsistent with certain scenes outstaying their welcome, while others appeared too brief. One of the early scenes for example when the residents line up for inspection by Harris (John McPherson) the camp’s drill sergeant styled leader, it seems to drag on forever. McPherson too sadly doesn’t quite gel with the character, and the menace that Harris should imbue is somewhat lacking.

RAVEN 003The same could be said too about the way it meanders across genres. Is it a drama that wants to comment on the rehabilitation of a disaffected youth, is it a police procedural or is it a thriller that simply aims to uncover a buried secret? Is the supernatural angle really warranted in this narrative? It’s so ambitious, and yet with a cast peppered with first-timers its aspirations just seem too lofty as it develops into a frustrating experience for the viewer. Something much simpler would have been much more effective, and while not a total disappointment, Raven’s Cabin leaves you thinking that this was a missed opportunity for this young group of actors and filmmakers.

4 out of 10

An introduction to the film by the director
A behind the scenes montage of stills

Submissions for Grimmfest, 2-5 October 2014 now OPEN!

gf1Submissions for Grimmfest, 2-5 October 2014 now OPEN!

Ever dreamed of getting your movie shown at one of the UK’s leading Horror
Film Festivals as well as in cinemas, on DVD and VOD platforms all around
the world? We’ll here’s your chance! Submissions are open and we’re looking
for the best in Horror, Cult, Weird, and Fantastic movies for our early
October festival. If you think this applies to your very own cinematic
offspring, then we’d love to hear from you.

This year, for the first time, Grimm Up North, in partnership with Raven
Banner Entertainment will be offering a very special competition for all
submitted feature and short films.

gf3When you submit your film for festival consideration, you will also have
the option of entering our Grand Jury Competition. The feature film winner
will be afforded the incredible and unique opportunity of having their film
distributed in the UK by Grimm Entertainment and sold internationally by
esteemed genre specialist sales company, Raven Banner. We will also create
a Grimmfest 2014 compilation of the best shorts for UK distribution.

*EARLY BIRD DEADLINE: 14th Feb – 25th April (Cost: Short £12.50. Feature

*NORMAL DEADLINE: 25th April – 15th Aug (Cost: Short £15.00. Feature

*EXTENDED DEADLINE: 15th Aug – 29th Aug (Cost: Short £20.00. Feature

gf2*For more information on submissions for Grimmfest 2014 head to our
website.’ or visit HERE .