Cabin Fever

So, I’m back with Eli Roth’s 2002 directorial debut, the gross-out fest Cabin Fever. This movies been out for eleven years but I’m just seeing it now. I enjoyed it but I’m not sure it lived up to the hype that I’d heard about it. That being said, I love whenever someone with a passion for horror makes a horror movie.
The movie follows five, interchangeable college kids who rent a cabin in the woods to get down to sem serious partying after finals.
On their way, they encounter the dumb, seemingly racist yokels that live in the nearby town. Trouble doesn’t really begin until Burt (James DeBello) accidentally shoots a scabby, bloody hermit. The man begs Burt for help but Burt gets scared and then starts to purposely shoot him. The hermit reappears later that evening, begging for help, then trying to steal their car. It takes about five minutes for the well-to-do, educated college students to become violent. As the days pass (I counted four), starting with Karen (Jordan Ladd), they begin to succumb to the same bloody disease that the hermit had.
Whatever the disease is, it leaves you spewing blood and makes your limbs look like bloody kielbasas. They turn on each other almost as quickly as they turned on the homeless man. They lock Karen in the tool-shed, which seems really practical and mean. Jeff (Joey Kern) abandons the group and leaves with a bunch of beer. Paul (Rider Strong, yes, Shawn from Boy Meets World was in this) has sex with Marcy (Cerina Vincent), despite his romantic feelings for Karen. The movie becomes a kind of killer-disease/siege movie, as they deal with the murderous locals, each other, and the disease.
Burt eventually gets the car working well enough to get into town, which leads to the most random scene ever.

The movie basically has the main characters dropping like flies in creative ways, that I won’t divulge because you should see them.
I wonder how this movie feels to someone who isn’t a big fan of horror. The movie isn’t necessarily scary but it is gory and it pays homage to a few classic horror movies. The Evil Dead is the first obvious choice, with the isolated cabin, the need to isolate someone, and the freely spewing blood. The murderous hillbillies reminds me of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The absolutely useless law enforcement reminded me of Last House on the Left. All Deputy Olsen cares about is partying.
The movie has the feel of an 80’s horror-comedy but the gore is amped way up. I liked it but, frankly, think it isn’t as hardcore as some people think. I also think it would have affected me more if I liked any of the characters but I honestly found them to be universally unlikable, except Karen. She has the worst friends ever. Here are some effects that I particularly liked;

Freddy Krueger skin is never a compliment.

Freddy Krueger skin is never a compliment.

There’s a reason the gore looks good, it was done by K.N.B. EFX Group.
I did notice something interesting in the opening credits. Angelo Badalamenti did several parts of the score, while Nathan Barr did the rest. If you’re a Twin Peaks fan then you probably know Badalamenti’s name, since he did the music for the show. I actually really liked the score. It was mostly tense strings that increased the tension with a few minutes of Badalamenti’s jazz and it all worked somehow.
This isn’t the deepest movie in the universe, but it’s a fun movie. What I appreciate about it is that it’s R-rated when it seems like horror movies of that time suffered from a severe case of the PG-13’s. Also, I honestly agree with Roth’s view that people really come apart in a crisis.


About scarina

I like scary movies a little too much. I thought I'd share my obsession with you.
This entry was posted in 21st century, body horror, diseases and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Cabin Fever

  1. Crypticpsych says:

    Cabin Fever, to me, is a movie that, at it’s base, does a lot right, but it’s the superfluous stuff that can bug the hell out of you. The question, for instance, of whether it truly wants to be a comedy or not given how extreme and realistic the gore is. For instance, as you said, the whole cast pretty much is unlikable with some being particularly so (I firmly believe everyone hates party cop). It’s like…there’s a great gory horror movie in this that’s tremendously entertaining and makes the movie worthwhile…but then the comedy clashes really hard with it, almost like he isn’t skilled enough in blending the two to make it work. That’s just me though.
    I’m assuming you saw it in your research for this, but the movie’s illness is based on Roth’s own very real bout with flesh-eating bacteria.
    Also, I’ve heard the pancakes thing is supposedly paid off late in the movie when Rider Strong is getting wheeled into the hospital and hallucinates (?) a guy in a hospital room getting fed pancakes as he passes. Still makes no sense, that’s just what I’ve heard.

    • scarina says:

      The fact that it gets a lot right makes the wrong so much more glaring. God, I heart that Party Cop has a big role in the sequel.
      Oooh, I didn’t know he had flesh-eating bacteria, I just heard that he was sick.
      I didn’t notice that, just the bunny.

  2. Crypticpsych says:

    Oh, and by the way, while it was R-rated, there was a big to do because the festival cut was slightly different (info’s on IMDB so I hear). They released a director’s cut in 2010 that almost restored it, but not quite.

  3. Pingback: The Cabin in the Woods | Scarina's Scary Vault of Scariness

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