Sex Dies on Videotape
Here is a story about 3 couples who arrange to meet up in an isolated cabin for a weekend of swinging but things don't turn out quite as they had planned. That probably makes "The Cabin Movie" sound like a sex comedy or at least with the mention of swinging a movie all about sex and nudity, but it isn't. Oh there is nudity, suggestive scenes and even a sex scene but this isn't a movie about sex and partner swapping this is a movie about how awkward swinging can be, how sex between normal people isn't really erotic and how if all of those involved are not happy it can go disastrously wrong. It means that "The Cabin Movie" ends up being very different to what you probably expect especially when you read the blurb on the back of the DVD but still a surprisingly interesting one.
Ken (Ryan Robbins) and Maria (Arabella Bushnell) are waiting for a group of friends to meet them up at their cabin for the weekend to try swinging. But whilst Ken and Maria on the surface maybe up for it there are issues lurking underneath which makes it awkward especially as after 7 years of being together the shadow of marriage is lurking over them. Not that their friends Mark (Brad Dryborough) and Catherine (Erin Wells) are a good example as their marriage has pretty much died and Catherine having not had sex in over a year is desperate to get some no matter who it is with, even if Mark is unsure about trying partner swapping. And then there is Jason (Ben Cotton) who despite having a long term partner shows up with easy going Ginny (Justine Warrington) who he met at a party a week earlier and she finds herself in the middle of an awkward weekend as emotions and problems spill over to spoil the planned swinging.
So the actual set up to "The Cabin Movie" wouldn't feel out of place in a sex comedy with these 3 couples meeting up in an isolated cabin to try swinging for the first time. But whilst there is sex, nudity and comedy this isn't what you would call a mainstream sex comedy which is about erotic looking sex and sexual mishaps. Nope this is a movie about how awkward it is, how the couples find it difficult to break the ice and actually swap partners without the fear of hurting their own partners feelings. And as such there is something very real about it, the awkwardness of trying to be close to a friend's partner preventing you from feeling comfortable.
But that is in many ways just one element to "The Cabin Movie" and the other side of this story is about relationships. You have the couple who having been together for 7 years now have the element of whether to get married or not and then there is the married couple whose relationship has become so stilted that they haven't had sex in a year. It tries to explore these relationships and how they can be a catalyst to making a swinging weekend a misguided idea as emotions pour over.
Now all of this is done with a slight touch of humour so you are amused by how awkward they initially feel around each other and how Catherine feels more liberated when she gets drunk. Yet at the same time as making us smile the reality and the drama of the situations is always present.
The sad thing is that at times it feels rather uncomfortable to watch as the awkwardness transfers to how the story comes across. There are moments where the characters seem unsure what to do next or say, not in a natural sort of way but in a way that they don't know where the story is going as if it is being created on the fly. And that has the knock on effect of making us unsure of what is happening especially with moments where it seems to be passing time in order to extend this story into a movie.
As for the acting well there is no stand out performance, there is no memorable performance but the blend of realism, humour and awkwardness which each of the actors gets across works. It maybe at times a little too raw, a little too uncertain but you strangely warm to them in a minimal sort of way.
What this al boils down to is that whilst "The Cabin Movie" may sound like a sex comedy about swinging couples it most certainly isn't the mainstream sex comedy that you might expect. Instead this is a movie which is for the most grounded in the real world where sex isn't pretty and often awkward especially when you are trying to sleep with your friend's partner with them in the room. It's the sort of movie you have to approach with an open mind because if you watch "The Cabin Movie" expecting a mainstream sex comedy with obvious humour and erotic over the top sex you are going to be seriously disappointed.