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Film / Welp

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For this trip, you're going to need your Survival merit badge.

"Be Prepared"

Welp (titled 'Cub in some territories) is a 2014 Belgian horror film directed by Jonas Govaerts. Sam is a young boy in Belgium, who is quite eager to participate in the local Cub Scout troop. However, he is a quiet boy who is recovering from some recent and unspecified traumatic incident. When the troop embarks on a camping trip in France, his scoutmaster hopes this experience will allow Sam to open up and make some friends. The camping site itself is perfect, being adorned with the beautiful French countryside and none of the problems of everyday city life. The Scouts even come up with their own ghost story, that of a werewolf boy named Kai who roams the countryside and preys upon the unsuspecting fools who enter his domain.

Yes, this seems to be shaping up to be a fine camping trip...

But Sam soon starts to notice some strange things. Things that may suggest that Kai is not a ghost story, but an actual being waiting in the shadows...

This film has examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Pretty much none of the Scoutmasters take Sam seriously when he points out the weird things going on. Eventually subverted when Kris finds Kai's treehouse and the dead policeman's phone, leading him to step up and try to save everybody.
  • All There in the Manual: Though he's never named explicitly, Kai's master is called De Stroper (Dutch for "The Poacher") in the credits.
  • Asshole Victim: Almost everybody who gets killed manages to fall under this, being insufferable in their own various ways. That includes Peter, the bullying Scouts, and the go-karting French Jerk.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Even by slasher movie standards, this trope is taken to an extreme. Not only does the killer survive, but he also gains a new assistant through Sam, who has been left mentally broken by the experience and becomes the new Kai.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Both fatally and non-fatally. The non-fatal one occurs after Sam gets beaten up by Peter, and the fatal one occurs when Peter is crushed by the first tree.
  • Cool Mask: As the page image shows above, Kai has one hell of a unique mask design.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: A lot of the deaths in the film come off as this; from being impaled by wooden stakes to being run over by a truck, nobody who dies does it in a painless way. Particularly noticeable in Peter's case, where his legs are first broken by a falling tree, then immediately killed when another tree falls right on top of his face.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Sam, who is belittled and bullied throughout the film for being weird, turns out to be right when he says Kai is out there in the forest.
  • Dark Secret: Sam has one involving his past, but it's never really elaborated upon.
  • Death Trap: Very complex and precise ones are what kill the Frenchman and Peter.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: A camping trip into the deep woods of a foreign country and where a psychotic maniac and his feral assistant are killing all who enter. Yeah, this definitely fits the trope.
  • Downer Ending: All but two of the Scouts are killed by the main villain, and the bullying Sam has endured from the other Scouts has pushed him into being the new Kai to work alongside with the villain.
  • Fat Bastard: The Dragon of the Troop Leader is one of these, making it all the more satisfying when he gets run over by the Killer with a truck.
  • Final Girl: Averted big time. Though Jasmijn is one of the more likable characters and is one of the last survivors, she is ultimately killed by Sam because she didn't do anything to stop her boyfriend Peter from abusing Sam. Her death is ultimately what pushes Sam into his final madness and alliance with the Killer.
  • French Jerk: A rare modern version of this trope. When the Scouts cross over from Belgium into France, they come across two Frenchman go-karting on their campsite. When the Scoutmasters try to tell the Frenchmen they've already reserved the lot, they just rev up the go-kart so they can't hear the Scoutmasters. This is what pushes the Scouts to go into the woods to the alternative campsite and arguably the catalyst of all the horrible things that happen in the story. However, the jerkier one of them that instigated the argument is given his just desserts when he wanders into the forest and ends up killed by one of the killer's traps.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: This turns out to be Sam's ultimate fate, as the limits he's pushed to in order to fight Kai and his master just make him more unhinged.
  • How We Got Here: This is what the opening scene turns out to be, as it shows the final part of the film where Jasmijn is chased, captured, and eventually killed.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: This is the jerkier Frenchman's fate, as he triggers a Death Trap that eventually launches a wooden stake right through his stomach.
  • Implacable Man: What Kai's master turns out to be, surviving multiple stabbings and even being exploded in a truck.
  • In Medias Res: The film opens with a woman (eventually revealed to be Jasmijn) fleeing from an unseen menace. She eventually gets tricked into thinking a group of rotating lights are a highway, and is grabbed by the throat by an unseen man.
  • Karma Houdini: The one Frenchman who forced the Scouts to move and largely led to the film's events never gets punished (though his jerkier compatriot certainly does), nor the Jerkass Troop Leader who bullied Sam with his Dragon.
  • Kill the Cutie: The relatively nice Jasmijn becomes the final victim of the film, with her death cementing Sam's descent into The Dark Side.
  • Made of Iron: Kai's master most definitely qualifies. Not only does he resist numerous stabbings, but he survives being blown up in a truck. And even though he's severely burnt, he still has enough energy to continue his rampage.
  • No Name Given: While Kai is given a name (if only by Sam and the other Scouts), his master is never called anything within the film.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Kai and his master are pretty much experts at this, always appearing where they want to without making any noise.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Scoutmaster Peter is rarely called by his real name, instead often being called Baloo.
  • Police Are Useless: Well, there's only one officer in the film, but boy, is he ever ineffectual. His first scene shows him meekly attempting to shoo the French Jerks from the original camping site, only to leave after a brief telling off from them. Then, after telling Scoutmaster Kris about the current camping site's sordid history, he's unable to get around a roadblock that has appeared on the path out of the woods and forces him down a path that leads to him being killed by the main killer. Oh, and the best part is that he doesn't even have an official police car or motorcycle, but an extremely small motorbike that's not even a third the size of him. So essentially, the only police authority around is a fat man who spends all of his screen time puttering around on a diminutive motorbike. Even Inspector Clouseau would say this man is useless.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Scoutmaster Kris certainly comes off as this. He never belittles Sam and actually seems to be doing his best to help Sam come out of his shell. He is also there to call out Scoutmaster Peter on the latter's abuse of Sam whenever he catches him doing it. Even when he suspects that Sam killed Peter's dog, he listens to what Sam has to say first before punishing or berating him. When he finally does learn that Sam was telling the truth about Kai and his master, he does everything he can to prevent anymore harm from coming upon anyone else.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Hinted at being a possible motivation for the movie's events; apparently, the campsite the Scouts are at was originally a paper mill that closed down a few years ago. A lot of distraught workers apparently hung themselves from the surrounding trees, jinxing the area to many of the locals. Whether or not Kai and his master are killing because of the events at the paper mill or they're there randomly is anybody's guess.
  • Serial Killer: What Kai and his unnamed master are: They wait for people to enter the woods and then murder them.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The movie really becomes this towards the end in regards to Sam. Despite his best efforts to fit in and get beyond his Dark and Troubled Past, both Scouts and Scoutmaster Peter have antagonized him beyond belief. The few people who were nice to him (Jasmijn and Kai) are the ones that Sam actually kills. This eventually pushes Sam beyond the breaking point, and he becomes the killer's new assistant when he crosses the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Silent Antagonist: Kai qualifies as this, given that he never speaks outside of shrieks and yells. Averted with the poacher, however, who speaks in full sentences.
  • Slasher Movie: The film eventually becomes this when it's revealed that Kai is working for another psycho and they're out to kill whoever comes in the forest.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Jasmijn is the only girl in a film otherwise dominated by male Scouts.
  • The Speechless: Kai is one of these, never uttering a word outside of shrieks and grunts.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: The constant emotional abuse from the other Scouts and Scoutmaster Peter is what eventually causes Sam to replace Kai as the killer's assistant.
  • Torture Cellar: A unique one is present in the film, as it is underground and it is where Kai's master tracks his prey and takes survivors to in order to finish them off.
  • Trauma Button: The events of the movie really take a toll on Sam, with the final events of the movie starting to seriously trigger anxious thoughts of his past and pushing him to become the new Kai.
  • Trunk Shot: There's one when the police officer opens up the trunk of one of the abandoned cars in the forest clearing, which is actually the secret doorway into Kai and his master's underground lair.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Peter becomes this big time when he is trapped under a tree and continually insults Sam as the young scout tries to help him get loose. In a case of Laser-Guided Karma, however, Peter is then immediately crushed by another tree set up by the Killer.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The two scouts who survive the killer's rampage are never seen again after the truck blows up. There's no scene of them leaving the forest or the killers following them, so it remains a rather big plot question.
  • Wild Child: This is what Kai comes off as being. Somewhat different from the usual trope in the sense that he seems to understand human language enough to respond voicelessly when others talk to him.
  • Wolf Man: The Scoutmasters claim this is what Kai is, though he is actually more of a Wild Child.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: The title of Kai gets passed onto Sam when he manages to kill the original Kai and earns the Killer's respect by killing Jasmijn.

Alternative Title(s): Cub