Take 3: The Cabin Review

Before I start the introduction of this review, I want to remind everyone that you have until Thursday, February 20th, to cast your vote for the Gold Sally Awards’ Best On-Screen! Here is the link to the poll:

 

The Second Poll of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards is here!

 

As the 2nd So Bad It’s Good Blogathon rolls around, my quest to find a “so bad it’s good” movie continues. Last year, I reviewed All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 in the hopes of finding a film that deserved the aforementioned title. However, the film itself was just ok. This year, I decided to pick a less-than-stellar movie from Hallmark. There have been some good Hallmark projects made over the years. But not all of them are created equal. In fact, some of them are downright polarizing. Originally, I was going to review Three Wise Women, a Hallmark production from 2010. Due to technical difficulties, the movie disappeared from my DVR. So, I chose a back-up option instead. The Cabin is a Hallmark movie from 2011 that is equally as polarizing as Three Wise Women. People who have seen this movie either genuinely enjoy it or they genuinely don’t. Because I had never seen the film prior to 2020, I figured the So Bad It’s Good Blogathon would be an appropriate time to see where my opinions fell on this particular spectrum.

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If you’re wondering why the faces on the poster look washed out, it’s because the photo is a screenshot from my television. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Things I liked about the film:

The scenery: According to IMDB, The Cabin was filmed in Ireland, even though the movie takes place in Scotland. Despite this, I absolutely loved the scenery! Everything was captured so well on film, accentuating the natural features of each location. When both families spend time in a local town, all of the buildings looked so quaint and inviting. A church and castle are also featured in this film, with picturesque grounds to match their stunning nature. The castle was a massive gray structure paired with a small garden of hedges. The greens of this garden nicely complimented the color of the castle. The foyer of the castle was shown, boasting an impressive interior with interesting features, such as a large fireplace and colorful floor tiles. Similar to the castle, a gray stoned church was complimented by the greens of the grass in the cemetery. The foliage surrounding the cabins and in the forest definitely stole the show! Their rich greens and browns were attention-grabbing and appealing to the eye. The creative team behind this movie made the most of their surroundings!

 

The inclusion of Scottish culture: As I already mentioned, The Cabin takes place in Scotland. Because of this, pieces of Scottish culture are incorporated in the story. Elements like attire, food, and activities are showcased on screen. The reason why both families go to Scotland is to participate in an event called the “Meeting of the Macs”, a series of games that are inspired by traditional Scottish sports. Throughout the movie, each family takes the time to experience what Scotland has to offer, from trying the local cuisine to attending a dance party. Toward the end of the film, all of the male characters from each family are seen wearing a traditional kilt. The way these components of the Scottish culture were woven into the film not only served as an introduction for the audience, but was also executed in a respectful and appreciative way.

Scotland Travel Background
Essentials of Scotland image created by macrovector_official at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by macrovector_official – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Lack of consistency: In romantic comedies, the consistency of the lead characters and their relationship can help gain fans within the audience. The Cabin, however, lacked that important ingredient. During the duration of the film, Lea Thompson and Steven Brand’s characters, Lily and Conor, are constantly arguing and making up. This is exhausting to watch and it makes it difficult to determine if Lea and Steven have any on-screen chemistry. This part of the movie was more distracting than it needed to be.

 

Weak acting: Half of the cast in The Cabin gave a performance that ranged from fine to good. The other half ended up giving weak performances. One of them came from Lea Thompson, whose portrayal of Lily consisted of smiling, arguing, and looking confused. This is not the kind of well-rounded performance I’ve usually come to expect from the leading actresses in Hallmark projects. Most of the young actors in this cast also gave weak performances, as they often appeared flat and unexpressive. I understand that casting younger actors in films can be hit or miss. But, in this case, it just didn’t work.

 

Two plot ideas that should have been separate: The Cabin contained two good plot ideas; a family going to Scotland for vacation and a family competing in a series of games. Both of these ideas had the ability to stand on their own, providing conflicts and series of events to compliment the story itself. Because of this, these plot ideas should have been placed in their own respective movies. During the first half of the film, the narrative was so dedicated to showing the families sightseeing in Scotland, that little attention was given to the “Meeting of the Macs” event. In the second half of the film, the story revolved around the exercise/training montages of the families to the point where the sights of Scotland were practically ignored. Since these ideas ended up clashing for attention, both of them were given a disadvantage.

 

The audio: Background noise and music can bring a sense of realism or emotion to a scene through various sounds. However, it’s called “background” noise or music for a reason, as it is loud enough to be heard, but quiet enough to not overpower the character’s speech. In The Cabin, the audio was so loud that I found it difficult to understand what some of the characters were saying. Because of this, I had to rewind the movie a few times just to hear or try to guess what was being said. The more I rewound the film, the tiresome it became.

 

Limited presence of the games: Throughout this review, I’ve mentioned the “Meeting of the Macs” event, the athletic competition that provides the reason for the families’ presence in Scotland. Before watching this film, I had expected the event to have a consistent presence in the story. Sadly, that was not the case. The first segment of the games, the preliminaries, didn’t appear until forty minutes into the movie. The final event doesn’t show up until the last twenty minutes of the film. For the rest of the project, the narrative focuses on other things, from one of Lily and Conor’s many arguments to one of the children dealing with a personal issue. While the games themselves were interesting, it wasn’t enough to make up for the script’s other flaws.

2nd Annual So Bad It's Good Blogathon banner
The Second So Bad It’s Good Blogathon banner created by Rebecca from Taking Up Room. Image found at https://takinguproom.wordpress.com/2019/11/10/announcing-the-second-so-bad-its-good-blogathon/.

My overall impression:

The Cabin is one of the most polarizing films in Hallmark history. Some people truly enjoy it, while other people don’t. Now that I have finally seen it, I can honestly say that I belong in the latter camp. This is not a well-constructed film. It has far more negatives than positives, with those negatives being painfully obvious. But in this movie’s defense, I have seen Hallmark productions that are worse than The Cabin. If anything, I would place it in Dishonorable Mentions. It’s not a good movie, but there were two things about it that I liked. Truthfully, I can’t say this film is worthy of the “so bad it’s good” title. This is because I didn’t enjoy the movie, for better or worse. So, it looks like I’ll have to go back to square one in my quest to find a project that I would personally consider “so bad it’s good”.

 

Overall score: 5.5 out of 10

 

Have you any Hallmark films that were less-than-stellar? What is the most polarizing film you’ve seen? Please share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

15 thoughts on “Take 3: The Cabin Review

  1. Pingback: The Second So Bad It’s Good Blogathon Has Arrived! – Taking Up Room

  2. I am really critical of movies with weak acting – even though I myself can’t act worth beans – especially when it comes from a big name like Lea Thompson. The scenery in this film sounds gorgeous, but I don’t think that would be enough to tempt me to watch it. I did, however, enjoy your review very much. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading my review, Silver Screenings! I don’t blame you if you choose not to watch ‘The Cabin’. There are far better Hallmark movies that are worth your time. I’ve reviewed other films from this company, so feel free to check out my list of movie reviews on my blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kudos to you, Sally, for giving such an in-depth look into a Hallmark film. They tend to be mixed bags in terms of storylines and performances, so you never really know what the end result is going to be. I haven’t seen Lea in anything in a very long time and to be honest she was never one of my preferred actresses. You did a great job on your article! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for checking out my review, Erica! You are right about Hallmark films being “mixed bags”, as not all of them are created equal. But, over the years, Hallmark has made some good ones. If you ever need recommendations, please let me know!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Sally! There are quite a few Hallmark movies shown here in France during the afternoons and even some cheapo German telefilms which can actually be really entertaining. I’ve largely gotten out of the habit of putting on the television because those things will suck you in before you know it! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading my review, J-Dub! I can’t disagree with your comparison, as there can be Hallmark films that make people feel that way. But, in my opinion, there are some Hallmark movies that are like an awesome dessert: satisfying and totally worth the wait! 🍰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great review! I agree it seems like they missed the boat here–it would have been interesting to see a more overt Highland Games theme with a movie like this. And better acting. Sigh. Thanks again for joining the blogathon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, Rebecca! ‘The Cabin’ had potential to tell a more unique story than what is shown on Hallmark Channel today. Unfortunately, it was wasted on a poorly written script. I’m so excited to talk about ‘Finding Forrester’ for your Leap Year Blogathon! Hopefully, that movie will be better than ‘The Cabin’ was.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. WinthropJQuiggy

    Have to be honest. The very words Hallmark Movie usually have me running screaming for the remote. But I’m glad you saved me the pain and watched it for me… 🙂 Nice review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for checking out my review, Quiggy! Hallmark movies can be hit or miss. There have been some really good ones, but there’s also been some really bad ones. I don’t regret seeing this movie because now I can form an honest opinion on it. However, it’s a film I definitely wouldn’t recommend.

      Like

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