Tuesday, 17th October 2017. 11:02:21am ET
Reviews Movie Reviews Cabin Fever

 


Movie: Cabin Fever
Company: Lion's Gate
Format: DVD
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 2/23/04

On rare occasion, a horror film comes along that rightfully earns acclaim from fans and critics. At other times that praise is almost baffling. Cabin Fever is one of those other times. Given a lot of credibility by the enthusiastic endorsement of infamous Dead Alive and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson (who, I'm assuming, had to have been very high at the time), the film really got a lot of undeserved praise and attention. While it has a fairly unique and entertaining premise, its execution leaves much to be desired.

The tale of a group of college students on vacation in a cabin in the woods, the film's horror sets in when they receive an unexpected visit from a man infected with some type of flesh eating disease. Paranoia and human nature take over as members of the group start to come down with the disease and the uninfected try to survive. The film starts out with just about everything you'd be likely to find in your typical teen backwoods slasher movie (including sex scenes, drugs, annoying and immature characters that you want to smack, the two nice characters who like each other but aren't officially "together", and a handful of local hicks). From there, we're treated to a few dozen nods to other horror films that hardcore horror fans will likely pick up on. Yes, you'll find obvious tributes to The Evil Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Last House on the Left, and Deliverance to name a few. Even the end events of the film are an almost directly translated homage to the end of Night of the Living Dead. Eli Roth is obviously a seasoned horror fan. However, he really should have spent more time fleshing out (no pun intended) his own story rather than ineptly copying bits of his favorite horror movies.

The film's few good points largely revolve around its take on human nature as the kids try to escape from the virus. There are also a few effective gross-out scenes for those of you that are into gore. Unfortunately, Cabin Fever's good points are overshadowed by (and often even seem to revolve around) cliches, plot holes, and rather stupid (not to mention sometimes contradictory) events and plot devices (what is up with the "pancake" kid?). The acting is really nothing more than you'd find in any generic "teens in the woods" horror flick. On the actors' behalves, however, they aren't given much to work with.

As for extras, the DVD is fairly loaded. Aside from the usual commentaries and featurettes, you'll find a number of fairly vulgar claymation fruit shorts that hit somewhere around South Park territory. You'll also find "Pancakes!", an exceptionally odd feature showing the "pancake" kid from the movie doing karate set to music. Then you'll get the chick vision version of the film, which blocks out the "scary" scenes, and an amusing and extremely short family version of the film.

While Eli Roth appears to have great aspirations to become horror's next idiot savant, this film suggests that his actual talents would be best put to use directing Friday the 13th parts 13-19. Horror fans might want to cautiously give Cabin Fever a try, but don't expect the big revolutionary horror film critics seem to claim it is. It's truly an extremely over-hyped, mediocre horror comedy offering that would certainly make it on a list of the worst horror films I've seen in the last year.


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