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Review: CABAL (2020)

Rene Perez, (Cry Havoc, Righteous Blood) is at it again. This time out, he’s the writer/director/cinematographer and editor of Cabal. It’s currently rocking a 2.1 out of 10 on IMDB. That’s about par for the course with him. However, the trailer did such a good job of channelling old-school grindhouse previews, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Cabal opens with a fight on an airport runway between Dragonfly (John Ozuna, Demon Fighter), a merc in a metal mask, and a group of business-suited goons. After killing them all, he spares the pilot’s life, but not before threatening to kill everyone he knows if he says anything about what just happened. Considering more than one aircraft passes the scene, that seems a bit pointless.

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As this is happening, another masked man is busy. Sallos (Tony Jackson) is chasing a woman through the woods with a bloody axe. The chase takes a bit because he has to keep stopping and doing this weird thing that’s a cross between deep breathing and flexing. After he kills her, a scientist and a couple of goons show up to scare him off and take the woman’s corpse.

Now, if you guessed that Dragonfly has unwitting connections to this. And ends up having to get to the bottom of it in a take no prisoners kind of way, you’re qualified to write grade D movies like Cabal.

I will give Perez credit. However, Cabal was shot and processed, it often has the look of a film from the 70s. And, unlike many faux grindhouse films, the print damage effect isn’t overdone. However, apart from a couple of nice sets of breasts, that’s all it has going for it.

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The plot is a mess of serial killers, conspiracies, and macho action. If Alex Jones had written Silent Rage, it might have turned out like Cabal. Loaded with attacks on the media and talking points about destroying the family unit and controlling the masses, it would be funny it wasn’t so inane.

It seems that this powerful cabal needs to get young women into the woods. So a Jason Voorhees wannabe can kill them. And then they can harvest the remaining organs. Never mind there wouldn’t be much left. Or just how stupid it is.

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The casting of Ozuna equally damns Cabal. In real life, he’s an accomplished martial artist, but he has no charisma at all. Worse, his fight scenes look horrible, although that may be due to the lack of a good fight choreographer. Either way, an action film without good action is DOA, and this one is starting to rot.

Cabal does get one other aspect of 70 low-budget films right, the padding. There are nearly endless scenes of Dragonfly following Elizabeth (Eva Hamilton, Ruin Me, Skinwalker) or driving a quad through the woods. They add at least ten minutes to the film’s runtime. Just enough to push it to feature-length at 77 minutes.

Cabal is available to stream via Gravitas Ventures.

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