It is very rare that a film can create a simple and funny story in just over four minutes. Here in Riley Stearn’s The Cub is a film that does exactly that. It is also a wonderful production that, in execution, can provoke some rather loud laughs. On the official selection for Sundance this year, The Cub has delighted at film festivals proving that you don’t have to be so complex in order to illicit a reaction.
The Cub centres around parents who make a pact with a pack of wolves. For some delicious and succulent meat, the parents ask for their child to be raised by the wolves. They hope that growing in the wild will prepare their daughter with the necessary skills to survive and when she masters these animalistic traits, she will then be given back to her human parents so they can teach her about manners and human stuff.
It pretty much plays like a realistic, and horrific, version of The Jungle Book. It doesn’t need much more added to it because it works so well. Stern gives this deadpan humour life and it certainly takes a bite. Aesthetically, it is kind of beautiful even if steeped in this kind of sepia tone, customary to independent movies. And for some, this technique may lead many to write the short off – for all the wrong reasons sadly.
But, impressively, Stern has created a film that is charming, gory and overall, comical.