Cabin Fever Movie Review
Written by Giuseppe Infante
Released by IFC Midnight
Directed by Travis Zariwny
Written by Randy Pearlstein and Eli Roth
2015, 99 minutes, Rated R
Released on February 12th, 2016
Gage Golightly as Karen
Matthew Daddario as Jeff
Samuel Davis as Paul
Nadine Crocker as Marcy
Dustin Ingram as Bert
When I heard Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever was being remade, and it was not a follow-up to the recent Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, I was befuddled. Why was this movie being redone? Fun? Art? Money? Nostalgia? Will there be any interviews revealing why? I’ve yet to read any; after the release, more information should come of light. Until then...
The story in this Cabin Fever remake exactly matches the original, as the movie was made using the same script, for the most part. Although there are some small shifts in plot, comparing to 2002’s version, the concept is precisely integral. Five college kids embark on a weeklong vacation to a cabin in the forest of a small, quaint town, quipped with cliché redneck locals warning the group to stay out of the woods. After settling in and getting into some good ol’ adolescently adult-bound mischief, the quintet has a late night visit from someone bloody and boiled. From there, chaos ensues and infection spreads like wildfire.
At the tender age of fourteen years old, the original 2002 film is not ground-shattering horror cinema. Cabin Fever (2002) holds its place as an interestingly millennial satire and entertaining gorefest, fresh with flat characters incapable of change being killed off one by one to conjure a paradigm about life and humanity. Cabin Fever (2016), on the other hand, is a hyper-driven, high-definition, MTV video-less downgrade. I envision fans of the television reboot of Scream (which is an atrocity) loving the latter version of Cabin Fever—but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Travis Z-directed remake is all dreadful.
There were times I was totally involved with it. The musical score is extremely diverse, ranging from creepy, dark ‘80s synth to symphony to hip-hop. This held together the differing moods evolving throughout the film. Also, the practical effects are first-class. Gore and guts lovers will savor every drop of blood oozing from this blister in the sun. The make-up and effects team should be proud of all the gorgeous death brought to life for us deviants to relish in.
Unfortunately, there were also times I was dicking around on my iPhone, as I was detached and didn’t feel the “fever.” The acting is not the best, but passes as believable (although every time I looked at Samuel Davis, I couldn’t help but envision Brooke Lopez of the Brooklyn Nets). The female actors, Gage Golightly and Nadine Crocker, steal the show from their male counterparts. I didn’t want these girls to be in such a shitty situation. The males dissimilarly remind me of a whiny Zac Efron, Butt-head (where’s Beavis?) with a gun, and a wannabe hero Brooke Lopez. I didn’t care if their skin fell off and the sun burned their eyes out.
Aside from the acting, the film is extremely clean, clear and under control, which is usually a first-rate trait. On the contrary, the original production has true grit; if keeping true to the script, Travis Z might as well have embraced the true aura rather than following the 4K generation. The production is reminiscent of MTV’s Teen Wolf or Fox’s Scream Queens, as those shows are too visually striking, leaving the final product looking soap opera-esque. Horror stories set in natural settings, like the forest, should embrace the macabre the location has to offer.
Time moves with swiftness, as it’s been a long time since I’ve watched the original Cabin Fever. Even though I wasn’t a die-hard fan, afterward it did prod me to think beyond the surface of plot. I did enjoy watching the new one, but it doesn’t have a uniqueness that differentiates itself from the initial film. The pacing of the update is quick but expected. Everything feels all too familiar, as Shawn Hunter lingers around the bushes (of my mind) and detracts from judging fairly. No one in this film is as hunky as Rider Strong. But seriously, the problem is Cabin Fever (2016) will always be compared to its far more superior predecessor; and sometimes the bias feelings are inescapable.