Running Time: 93 Minutes
Starring: Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern
Directed By: Eli Roth
Rating: 6 out of 10
Five kids go into the woods but soon realize a deadly virus stalks the area.
So this movie has a love it or hate it quality about it, something akin to the Evil Dead franchise. Meaning you either get into it or you don’t. I have heard tons of negativity towards this movie and I can see the arguments I just can’t agree with them. Yes in a world where typical audiences need meaningful plot, passionate characters, and big budgets, this movie is going to come up short. In a world where everything should be appreciated Cabin Fever doesn’t pander to the masses. It finds its own niche by paying homage to the early days of horror. Cabin Fever is the story of 5 friends that head off into the woods for a little rest and relaxation. What starts off as a party soon becomes a fight for their lives as a deadly flesh eating virus ravages the group and they have little hope of survival.
So I am going to preface this by saying this movie is insane. It is a mish mash of cartoon character personas and over the top gore. If you always take your movies seriously you can stop reading right now as this movie will not be for you. (I guarantee that.) If you appreciate movies like The Evil Dead and Drag Me to Hell then there is a pretty interesting little flick waiting for you in this film. The movie has the typical group of twenty year olds heading into the boonies for a cabin getaway. They encounter the local inhabitants on the way there who are an eclectic bunch of rednecks (of course). As they head into the isolated woods the film really starts to get going. A couple of creepy sudden encounters amongst the trees involving some odd looking characters really set the tone for this film. It also has an old school musical soundtrack that really enhances the movies bloody scenes. When all is calm and peaceful on screen it can be suddenly broken up by a quick horrible visual. I obviously will not divulge who gets sick but let me just say the disease is top notch in its design. Skin literally sloughs off the body and a bloody cough that projectiles blood and phlegm will make most people squeamish. As the disease is introduced to the group this is where the movie is genius. Friendships splinter and the distrust begins. Although the theme is surviving there is something endearing in the comical dialogue and stupid/horrible decisions the group makes together.
It would be harsh of me to judge this cast as they are supposed to be decidedly campy. From the rednecks to a druggie police officer this film is obviously not going for credibility. The 5 friends are also haphazardly put together and would never be friends in real life. The women are in this film for their beauty and the guys are in it to add some versatility to the story line. I would say they did above average jobs with their performances as I felt their plight and it is not always easy to pull off a film like this.
The obvious double entendre title Cabin Fever is a perfect fit. Not only are they stuck in this remote cabin with nothing to do. They are also stuck with this disease that is ravaging the area. Distrust is bred from the diseases unknown origin and going for help always leads them back to the cabin. This film is the perfect recipe of horror and shocks. Guns are fired, body parts are strewn about, even the local wildlife gets riled up by the craziness of this disease. Yes the dialogue is stilted and comical, and yes every character in the film is a super exaggerated stereotype, but through it all this movie does enough to make it worthwhile. When the end to this film comes, your morbid curiosity in this tale will be sated with plenty of nudity and sex and a whole lot of vibrant blood spraying.
Director and writer Eli Roth (other writer Randy Pearlstein) has put together a decent horror film. His use of great musical score, great sweeping camera work of the woods, and abrupt scenes of gore are to be commended. He could have toned down some of the characters (a mentally challenged boy, a partying cop) but somehow even they fit into this film. The script was perfect and this film never ceases to be fun and campy. It is a great throwback horror that hopefully some will appreciate.
I give this movie a recommendation with the caveat please go in with an open mind. If you like horror and gross amounts of blood this should work for you.
T Factor + If you like campy films or old school horror this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – if you like great story and dialogue this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Hostel, Drag Me to Hell.