A sneaky and surprisingly smart horror flick, Cabin Fever sets up all the cliches of its particular subgenre (what might be called the "sexy young people go into the woods" horror movie, featuring hostile redneck locals, d... more »ead animals on hooks, cars that suddenly stop running, etc.) and by the end has played a clever twist on every standard element, often to darkly comic effect. What's the plot? Well, five sexy young people (Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, Joey Kern, Cerina Vincent, and James DeBello) go to an isolated cabin where they contract a nasty bacteria that eats their flesh; this, combined with a bad-tempered dog and a party-loving police deputy (Giuseppe Andrews, giving a particularly funny performance), leads everyone into confusion and bloody chaos. Some of the ironic twists are a little obvious, but most of them effectively subvert your expectations to entertaining effect. --Bret Fetzer« less
NOT an effective homage, not scary, not funny, don't bother
LeftManOut | 01/28/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"My review title really says it all. With the exception of strong performances by Rider Strong, Cerina Vincent and Guisseppe Andrews, Cabin Fever is a resounding failure - both critically, as even enjoyable jaw-clenching horror fare and as a successful homage. The term "homage" (I'll be tempted to contract a flesh-eating virus myself if I have to hear this word ONE MORE TIME) is dreadfully overused here - by the DVD's director, the cast, the producers and everyone seemingly involved with this drek. Done well, a film homage successfully captures the styles of a genre and the creative sensibilities of people associated with a particular film or films and combines it with a unique sense of a filmmaker's vision. Done poorly - as in the case of "Cabin Fever" - and "homage" can be synonymous with a total absence of originality and an inability to blend someone else's style with your own. That's what happens here and unfortunately it just goes on and on and on. Writer/Director Roth has no particular vision or style of his OWN to bring to the homage party - no real grasp on what he wanted HIS film - homage or not - to be stylistically by the last reel. Neither particularly scary, nor funny, "Cabin Fever's" greatest weakness is, in this age of increasingly sophisticated movie-going audiences, its mess of a storyline. The overall concept is painfully simple and fine actually as far as the genre goes - but Roth manages to overcomplicate things - forgoing building real tension and jeopardy through character development (I mean - seriously - that's all that's left with these rehashes that can make them even remotely fresh, right?) his characters in lieu of throwing in one too many go-nowhere B-stories and horror-film-of-yore references, leaving the characters with nothing to do but stumble from disjointed scene to disjointed scene vomiting blood. As mentioned earlier, Strong, Vincent and Andrews (who's underused) do manage solid performances despite having far little to work with. The DVD's self-congratulatory tone and over-reliance on genre-dropping references (as if to dissuade the passionate horror viewer that they really, really did see something special) are maddening. For all of his passion - and so-called experiences making home-made horror movies, Roth shows a stunning lack of comprehensive ability...especially perplexing since he bemoans the near demise of good horror films in the early 1990's. Hmm...Mr. Roth...ever think that it was this kind of careless filmmaking that was the cause? Just a thought. It appears Roth's passion for horror films has outstripped his ability to effectively make them and despite his luck at being let loose in a movie-making candy store (just who financed this thing and approved him as director, I ask?!!), what he really needs is a good screenwriting class and more time - much more time - with his dad's video camera."
"After seeing "Wrong Turn", I didn't have any doubts about seeing "Cabin Fever". One of the primary reasons I saw "Wrong Turn" was because I was familiar with, and liked most of the actors (or actresses) in the movie, and that was a similar with this movie. James DeBello (Detroit Rock City, 100 Girls) has been hilarious in every movie I've seen him in, and Ryder Strong was on Boy Meets World, so you gotta love him. The other actors I wasn't that familiar with, but I decided to see the movie anyway, and let me tell you I'm glad I saw this one.
"Cabin Fever" is about a group of five friends (3 guys, 2 girls), who have just graduated from school, and now are going to the mountains for a camping trip in a cabin. However when they get there, there is a deadly virus on the loose, which is being contracted by a hobo who lives out in the woods. Bert (James DeBello) is the first to come into contact with the hobo, when he accidentally shoots him with a bee-bee gun, thinking he's a school. The hobo then trys to get Bert to help him, but Bert runs away. The Hobo then interrupts a bon-fire the group is having, and is accidentally set on fire, which for some sick twisted reason is very funny. Some way or another, his dead body ends up getting into the water system, and those anyone who drinks the water becomes infected. The girls both end being the first two to get it. When they find out that the disease is within them, Jordan Ladd (who was one of the pot smockers in "Super Troopers") then goes into hiding. It's pretty funny. Well as you may expect the disease eventually infects all of them (except Jordan Ladd). There's also some crazy group of rednecks running around (which seems to be the staple in horror movies right now) who are trying to kill the kids in the cabin. I don't want to spoil the plot if you haven't seen it, which is why I left a lot of holes. Please trust me there's a lot of good in this movie, and none of these reviews do it justice, it's another you need to see before writing off.
With a very likable and funny cast, and interesting (but totally unrealistic) storyline, and plenty of jokes and wild rednecks running around to entertain you, you should definitely check this movie out if you haven't seen it. Don't let others opinions sway yours, form your own. Especially if you liked other movies or shows the cast has been in, you'll like this one."
Redefining the genre? No, but a treat for horror buffs.
skytwo | Boston | 01/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the things that makes Cabin Fever a genuinely fun outing for horror fans is the cast and crew's obvious enthusiasm for what they're doing. Even without viewing the entertaining (if rather short on substance) "Making of" featurette, you can easily tell that the film was a labor of love with a game cast. While the extras don't shed much light on the film's progress from unsellable script to most-hyped horror film of 2003-- which would undoubtedly have made for a fascinating story-- the movie is (almost) enough of a delight to make up for it.Cabin Fever takes pretty much every convention of "classic" drive-in horror films of the 70's, and manages to make them look new again. Curmudgeons may say that it's nothing more than a Scream-esque parody of horror movie chestnuts, but the approach is really quite different. Instead of self-conscious winks to the audience, the walking cliches of Cabin Fever seem to enjoy playing their roles to the hilt, with performances that are as much tribute as spoof. One of the most entertaining aspects of the film is that the lead characters, each a counterpart of a 70's-horror staple, are almost uniformly unlikable. Instead of counting on us to hope that the smug hipster, the ice queen, and the obnoxious jock manage to escape the killer's clutches, we can finally enjoy seeing them get what we thought they deserved all along. I mean, did anyone REALLY identify with any of those too-good-to-be-true high school superstars?Cabin Fever won't have you leaving the nightlight on, although it does boast some solid shocks. It might be a bit of a letdown for fans of gore, but for my part I'm thankful that the more intensely violent moments were off-camera. Otherwise it might have been too dificult to watch.The most striking thing about the film is its big-budget look. The directing is confident, the performances are strong, the effects are convincing, and the photography is excellent (unlike most of its ancestors). The DVD transfer's color is glorious, and the sound really fills a room. It belies its independent origins every step of the way, right down to the Angelo Badalamenti score (the composer's hilarious account of his involvement with the film is one of the featurette's high points). In most ways, the pricey DVD release doesn't disappoint. Most highly recommended to horror fans with a sense of humor.Note: the DVD also includes several short claymation features by director Roth that star a fruitbasket of British rockers who spend most of their time causing mayhem and squirting their own juices over everything in sight. A pleasant enough addition, but they aren't really anything to get excited about. Other features include the clever-yet-useless "Chickvision" option, and a short called "Pancakes" that shows just how much fun the creators were having with their project. Although when the subject grows up, he just might sue them for defamation of character.... The five(!) commentary tracks could probably have been boiled down into just one or two, but their easygoing tone adds to feeling of good-natured fun that went into the production."
Far from scary but still fun as all get out...
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 10/31/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Inspired by the recent review of a fellow Ammy friend I decided to take another look at this quote unquote horror movie. `Cabin Fever' is not a scary movie. It's camp. But when you watch it for the funny film that it really is then you can start to appreciate the movie. It's not a spoof either though, and one must realize that. This is not a movie that makes fun of the horror genre ala `Scary Movie' or `Shaun of the Dead' but is one that embellishes unrealistic situations to a point where it comes off funny instead of dreadful. Yes, director Eli Roth inserted moments of purposeful humor (like the much discussed `Pancakes' boy) but the film is really a quote unquote serious attempt at horror with comedic undercurrents that tend to take over.
The plot is nothing new to the world of horror. It's somewhat like `Deliverance' with a skin virus. You have five friends who decide to retreat to a cabin in the woods for some fun and relaxation only to find anything but. Instead they are greeted by some strange residents to the area and then, later on, by a man dying of some flesh eating virus that he in the process of pleading for help passes along to the five friends. As they slowly die alone in the cabin with no one willing to help them they turn on one another as the bleakness of their situation starts to set in. This could have gone the route of the recent `Bug' and become a more psychological film that delved into the insanity of desperation but instead it decided to go a tad (or more than a tad) overboard. The cast of characters, especially those the five friends encounter, are so clichéd and stereotypical it's unbelievable, but that's all in good fun.
The acting is decent, but then again the film really doesn't call for the actors to act. The scenes are set up for them, the dialog is handed them and they just do their best not to get shown up but the outrageous happenings around them. I remember growing up watching Rider Strong on `Boy Meets World' so I was thrilled to see him in this movie. It's not like the film does him much justice, but then again it's not like I have anything aside from `Boy Meets World' to judge this against so for all I know this is the extent of his talent. Joey Kern is decent for what is required of him, as is Jordan Ladd. James DeBello is just downright obnoxious and annoying but when taken into context is actually quite funny. Cerina Vincent is just utterly gorgeous, enough said.
So in the end `Cabin Fever' is not a film to take seriously but is a film that, when taken for what it really is, is sure to entertain. My wife has never seen this because she's not too keen on scary movies and when I told her it was hysterical she looked at me like I was crazy. Then she watched it with me and she understood. So, if you're looking for that horrifying film to chill you to the bone then find something else to watch, but if you want a good time that is sure to gross you out as much as make you laugh then sink your teeth into this film with reckless abandon."
A Karaoke Horror Film...
hewhoshouldnotbenamed | Seattle, WA United States | 04/09/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The reviewer who described this film as a 'Karaoke performance' was right on the mark. Roth - the director - is merely an imitator, an homage-merchant, and this film's skeletal structure is unashamedly taken directly from films like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Evil Dead", "The Hills Have Eyes" and, to a lesser extent, "Night Of The Living Dead" and "The Blair Witch Project". And the substance (the meat) of this film is precisely along the surrealistic lines of David Lynch's style of direction - which would explain why also some reviewers may see similarities to the original surrealist film makers, the Italians, i.e., Bava, Leone, Antonioni, Argento, etc.However - like Karaoke - this comparison does not make the film fully unentertaining or without its own original qualities and merits. The film is very well done; very well scored; very well choreographed and shot; convincingly gruesome and despairing; and the acting is precisely as it should be - downplayed and reflective of these types of characters; even though NOT ONE is likeable in the least way, and will be the dominant reason you'll wish to stop watching the film. 'Course, concerning the latter, most (not all) horror films produced after the 1960s had leading characters that the audience were not sympathetic to; which makes me think that this aspect of 'Cabin Fever' was also intended by its director. The only thing that separates this film from the other films it imitates is its antogonist: a flesh-eating disease. However, despite this difference, 'Cabin Fever' is no different than the other films that are seen through the 'killer's' eyes; and the viewer will be along every step of the way, knowing precisely what will be coming next, and giving the few suprises the film holds in store all that much more impact by comparison.I don't think this film is deserved of anymore than 3 stars; but I also don't think this film is deserved of any less than 3.'Cabin Fever' is the best film of its kind: a reflective homage to a few inspirational and highly popular 70s/early 80s independent horror films. It's simple, darkly humourous, grotesque, disturbing, horrifying (to those who still know how to be horrified), and lots of fun. 'Cabin Fever' doesn't pretend to be anything else, so don't expect anything else."