IMDB Rating: 3.6 / 10
For those of you unfamiliar with the Cabin Fever movies, let’s bring you up to speed:
- Cabin Fever (2002): A strange film that’s rather gory and weird with a strong undercurrent of black humour, it wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste but is certainly enjoyable if you’re in the right frame of mind.
- Cabin Fever 2: Spring Break (2009): A gag-reflex-testing, retch-inducing train wreck from start to finish that tried to mix toilet humour with insane amounts of blood and pus from places that blood and pus have no business gushing out of.
- Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (2014): A film that sticks with the gore and goes the more traditional horror route and which was far better than I ever would’ve expected it to be.
There was also meant to be a fourth Cabin Fever movie that took place on an ocean liner, which I thought would be quite cool; that was cancelled, and instead we got a remake/reboot of the original film. Why they decided to go this route I couldn’t quite say since the original isn’t that old (although I fear I’m getting to a point in my life where anything I did/watched/listened to as a teenager will be considered “not that long ago”), nor did it rely on effects that would be so much better 14 years later (oh God, it was quite long ago…)
I watched this movie twice, the first time for a general impression (which I live tweeted and during which I wasn’t overly impressed) and the second time to figure out what it was about this movie that was bugging me, because I wasn’t hating it as much as I thought I might, but something still wasn’t quite right. Read on and I’ll explain.
Despite what a lot of reviewers have said this isn’t a frame-for-frame remake of the original Cabin Fever, although the broad story remains largely the same.
Karen, Jeff, Paul, Marcy and Bert are five friends looking to get away for a few days to a nice little cabin in the woods (because that always works out so well for college-going teenagers). The problem is, these woods are home to a rather vicious and highly contagious flesh-eating virus. When their car is trashed and the locals turn out to be a bunch of weirdos that aren’t going to help, the fivesome must try and figure out a way to get back home with all their skin still sticking to their bodies.
Admittedly it’s a rather thin plot, but you don’t need to have much back story to have five kids get slowly eaten from the inside-out.
This is part of the reason I don’t understand why they remade the film. The cinematography for the original was perfect for what it was – a completely disgusting gore fest. It didn’t rely on anything that got better with time, and (at least in my opinion) you can watch the original film and it’s just as good (or bad, depending on your personal tastes) as it was when it was released.
That being said, the cinematography and general grossness is just as good in this version of events; because it relies on makeup instead of CGI and seems to have had a decent enough budget to pull it off it’s a completely revolting film in 2016 and will still be a completely revolting film in 2030 (by the current trend this is likely when we can expect another remake).
Neither here nor there.
I’m glad I watched it a second time because I finally figured out what was going wrong: this movie doesn’t balance itself properly. The main thing with this movie is that it’s an out-and-out horror film that does away with the black humour of the original. This change in tone is welcome, and admittedly one that I prefer, but the problem comes in in that it hasn’t adjusted some of the things it retains from the original to suit the new mood. For this reason, for example, you have a 30-something policewoman that’s trying to be a 15-year-old stoner: this weirdness was right at home in the original, but feels forced and very odd here.
The cast themselves also didn’t do their bit to pull this movie up. I wouldn’t say that any of them was particularly bad (they weren’t amazing, but I can see a future for each of them in the horror genre) but they didn’t work or play off one another very well, and you’re left with the impression that the director was pointing at each of them in turn and telling them to speak.
At the end of the day this Cabin Fever isn’t as awful as many reviews are saying, and I imagine if you haven’t seen the original you’d be no worse for wear if this was the only one you’ve watched (although I felt poor Karen’s ultimate demise was a little bit much). I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it, but if non-stop gore and some very stereotypical yokels tickle you in your happy place then you could do far worse than this.