Cabin Girl (2023) – Horror on Tubi

Horror, Thriller | 87 Min
Cabin Girl (2023) Horror Movie Review
  • Director: Jon D. Wagner
  • Actors: Rose Lane Sanfilippo, Austin Scott, Sam Ingraffia, Benjamin David Dennis, Jess Weixler, Lee Tergesen, Michael Rispoli
  • Writers: Leslie Beaumont, Rory James Wood
  • Producers: David Garrett, Vince Jolivette, Angie Sanfilippo, Gia Walsh
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Parental: Violence, Gore, Language
  • Horror, Thriller | 87 Min

After being involved in an accident in her van. Ava Robbins decides to finally fulfill a lifelong dream of purchasing and renovating a solitary rural cabin. It isn't long before she begins seeing strange things. Unsure of whether the visions are a result of her accident or something more sinister. She sets out on a journey to investigate the history of the house and its former residents. Uncovering a truth that she could never possibly have imagined.

Welcome to Knockout Horror. Today we will be reviewing Tubi Original, Social Media Influencer themed, paranormal mystery horror Cabin Girl from 2023.

Wait, What!?

Wait! What am I doing? This feature was done. We agreed, the pain was over. I had suffered enough. Why am I reviewing yet another low budget movie on Tubi? Well, the explanation is both simple and unsatisfying. You see, I was going to start a new feature today. One based around horror movies set in the summer. What with it being July and all. Not that it isn’t absolutely chucking it down with rain here in Wales at the moment. Feeling much closer to autumn than summer. But after taking a cursory glance at some of the streaming services. I simply couldn’t be bothered to look for for an appropriate movie.

With that in mind. I headed over to Tubi and picked a Tubi Original to check out. See, at Knockout Horror you always get 100% of my effort. Except when you only get 5% of it…. Like today. At least I am not writing a 300 word review of something that’s actually more of a summary than anything, right? I’m looking at you other horror sites. We are making one last ditch attempt to find another watchable horror movie on the free streaming service. And, you know what? I think I kind of succeeded. Cabin Girl is actually watchable. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t great. I wouldn’t exactly recommend it to anyone looking for something great. But it is much better than most of the shite I have watched on Tubi. Let’s take a look.

Another Social Media Themed Horror

Wow, this is such a common theme in horror at the moment. In fact, let me shamelessly plug a few lists we have put together recently. Number one being 12 Social Media Themed Horror movies. A list revolving around people obsessed with the online world of social media. And 10 Social Media Influencer Theme Horror Movies. A list focusing on social media influencers themselves. There’s some cross over but, hey, no listicle article is particularly unique. Cabin Girl would fall firmly into the latter category.

Cabin Girl (2023) Horror Movie Review

Cabin Girl focuses on the story of a popular social media Van life influencer switching her home on the road for a cabin in the woods. After being involved in an accident in her van. Ava Robbins decides to finally fulfill a lifelong dream of purchasing and renovating a solitary rural cabin. It isn’t long before she begins seeing strange things. Unsure of whether the visions are a result of her accident or something more sinister. She sets out on a journey to investigate the history of the house and its former residents. Uncovering a truth that she could never possibly have imagined.

A Different Approach to Social Media Horror

Most social media influencer themed horror movies don’t tend to take themselves tremendously seriously. Understanding the nature of social media and the personalities that inhabit it. Many of these horror films take a lighter approach. Keen to focus on the presentation of the influencer as an exaggerated version of a normal person. Placed into an extraordinary situation while still attempting to entertain their online audience. Deadstream and Sissy are really good examples of this.

Cabin Girl (2023) Horror Movie Review

Cabin Girl is a little bit different. It feels a little more grounded. With director instead presenting Ava as a fairly normal person who just so happens to be an influencer. The actual social media element takes something of a back seat. With the focus placed more on the prevailing mystery of the house and the questions surrounding Ava’s recent accident. Sure, we occasionally see Ava live stream and we see a few videos from fans spliced in every now and then. But, other than that, the whole social media stuff is fairly inconsequential. 

Just a Fairly Standard Horror

Whether this is a good thing or not is up to the viewer. Whereas I am more used to social media playing a pivotal role in these movies. It’s far more of a gimmick here than anything else. Referenced occasionally but, ultimately, inconsequential. This does raise a few questions, though. For one, why include it at all? Just to make the movie feel more current? I am not sure but I can see people feeling a bit of fatigue when it comes to this theme. On the plus side, although the movie hints at it for a few minutes at the start. The vast majority of Cabin Girl is filmed traditionally. With only a few vlogs and limited use of a Found Footage style. Good news for people who are not fans of the format.

Cabin Girl (2023) Horror Movie Review

It’s probably worth pointing out that the movie fails pretty hard when it comes to the presentation of its social media content. Repeatedly resetting the timer on videos. Running up likes and views continually as if they are some type of stop watch. And having a ton of continuity problems in just the few vlogs we actually see Ava making. Aside from this, Cabin Girl is every bit the traditional horror movie. Playing out in as typical manner as you might imagine. Quickly making you forget that the social media stuff is even relevant. Which is a good thing as Ava is utterly unbelievable as an influencer. She is very lacking in charisma and is, at least until the final 20 minutes, a rather dull person. 

Paranormal Horror With a Twist

There is a strong paranormal element at the heart of Cabin Girl. With Ava repeatedly seeing the spirit of a deceased girl. For the most part, it plays out in a very familiar manner. With a mix of red herrings and things seen out of the corner of eyes. Quickly transforming into full on sightings, Ouija boards, and other super common paranormal horror tropes. There isn’t anything new here but there is, perhaps, more than meets the eye.

Cabin Girl (2023) Horror Movie Review

Ava’s investigations into the history of the house begin to uncover something sinister. Something which quickly evolves into a much greater mystery seemingly involving the entire town. It’s slow moving and pretty uneventful for the most part. But there are enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. With everything, ultimately, coming together in something of a hectic twist ending that is fairly enjoyable.

A Potentially Divisive End

It’s all pretty middle of the road stuff but Cabin Girl does enough to stay interesting. The ending does manage to ramp up the thrills a fair bit but makes for a bit of a divisive conclusion to the story. Everyone enjoys a good twist, right? Well this one might split the audience down the middle. There is a slight feeling of the script being torn up. With the ending dismissing much of the lead up for the sake of a “Gotcha” moment that might not quite land with everyone.

Cabin Girl (2023) Horror Movie Review

It’s always a risk going for the big twist reveal. Some movies stand out for theirs. While others, like The Village for example, become notorious for all the wrong reasons. I wouldn’t put Cabin Girl on the level of M. Night Shyamalan’s trademark bull shittery but it will piss a few people off. My fiancee and I predicted it fairly early. A result of watching thousands of horror movies. But it should still prove a surprise for some. I, personally, think it works quite well. Managing to open up the story and afford a bit of personality to characters previously completely lacking in personality. 

Not Particularly Scary

There aren’t a great deal of moments here likely to shock or scare. Cabin Girl does go for a few jump scares but nothing too ridiculous. It mainly tries to unsettle but never really manages to nail it. Feeling very lukewarm for the most part and never managing to provoke a reaction one way or another. One particularly graphic scene towards the end does deserve mention for how gnarly it is. But, overall, it’s all just extremely familiar. Wagner takes few risks. Relying more on the movie’s later revelations than scares to keep the viewer onboard. 

Cabin Girl (2023) Horror Movie Review

Wagner has managed to put together a nice looking picture, though. Cabin Girl looks distinctly better than many of its Tubi Original siblings. Matt Irwin’s cinematography is razor sharp with some genuinely great shots and a crystal clear image throughout. Lighting is decent with few dimly lit nighttime scenes. Daytime scenes positively glow. It’s a great looking movie. The only parts that deserve some criticism are the Vlog style scenes. A terrible audio filter has been used which makes characters sound like they have strong speech impediments. The camera quality is terrible in these scenes, as well. Seemingly ignoring the fact that everyone and their dog is filming in 4K on YouTube nowadays. 

Acting is Pretty Good

Rose Sanfilippo is hot and cold as Ava. She isn’t at all believable as an influencer. Lacking charisma and that all so important pep that so many influencers seem to have. It would have benefited her to research some of the more well known social media personalities. Perhaps taking something from each to create a character that we could believe would garner an online following. She comes along nicely toward the end of the movie, though. Feeling particularly convincing during the latter parts. Sanfilippo manages to adapt her acting to convey the change in Ava’s personality extremely organically. It feels natural and will force the viewer to react to her in much the same way as characters in the movie do. Great job!

Cabin Girl (2023) Horror Movie Review

I really enjoyed seeing Jess Weixler again. She played Dawn in the utterly whacky horror movie Teeth. She is great here as local bar manager Trina. Feeling completely natural and believable. Austin Scott is fine as local mechanic Kellen. His performance is, perhaps, best described as generic. With him never being asked to do much of anything. He does okay with what he is asked to do, though. Everyone else is okay. Nobody really stands out but there isn’t anyone that is particularly bad so that’s a good thing. 

Final Thoughts and Score

Cabin Girl is one of those movies that doesn’t really stand out for better or for worse. It’s completely watchable, looks decent and is well acted but it just doesn’t do anything new. It’s story is extremely middle of the road. There aren’t many scares and the characters are’t particularly compelling. The twist ending will likely divide and some may find themselves put off by the social media element. But, for the most part, it is fine. Watchable and that is about it.

Cabin Girl is one of those movies that is fine if you are just looking for an easy to watch horror. If you aren’t concerned about being blown away and just need to fill 90 minutes, it is totally adequate. It has a mix of paranormal, personal drama and a fairly interesting mystery. But don’t expect it knock your socks off. To be honest, that’s pretty much the upper echelon when it comes to Tubi Original Horror. 

Okay, Finally Done!

Okay. This is definitely the end of our Low Budget Horror on Tubi feature. No more, nadda, zip. We are finished. It is onto our Summer Scares feature. We have to make the most of the hot weather. Autumn’s reviews write themselves with Halloween so let’s have some spooky sunny movies. I say spooky but 90% of these will feature sharks. Just forewarning.

We just put together a list of 25 Christmas Themed Horror Movies because Christmas in July is a thing, apparently. Why not check that out? You can also take a look at more Horror Movie Reviews, a few of our Horror Movie Lists or even catch up on our ridiculously long Horror Ending Explained articles. I update tons and I don’t put out fluff. Just stuff you can grab a coffee and sit for a few minutes reading. I would love for you to stick around. Thanks for reading!

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