Director: Eli Roth
I always appreciate it when a director attempts to do something new in any horror film. Innovative thought and ideas help to shape the horror genre into something cutting-edge and unconventional. Innovators such as Tobe Hooper, Sam Raimi, and Wes Craven formed, along with others, the new movement in conventional horror films. New ideas are great, but a good movie needs to have more than one interesting idea. Cabin Fever has half of an interesting idea surrounded by 90 minutes of excess fat and bad filmmaking.
The half an interesting idea is as follows: in place of a standard maniac killer such as Jason or Leatherface, a virulent flesh-eating disease is one-by-one infecting and killing a group of young, attractive campers. That, in theory, is the plot of Cabin Fever. In practise, the killer disease takes a backseat to a cast of unnecessarily-colourful secondary characters and their wacky adventures.
This film is stuck halfway between horror and comedy. Unlike previous successful horror-comedies (such as Evil Dead 2 or Scream), the humour in Cabin Fever is smug as opposed to smart and obvious as opposed to subtle. The movie even ends with a bad Shaggy Dog joke, which is both out of place and baffling.
The gore is sub-par, with underwhelming makeup from KNB EFX. Check out From Dusk Till Dawn for one of many much superior makeup outings from this group.
I believe that the main reason for the failure of this film as a good horror movie lies with director Roth. He throws in sloppy references to much more interesting films (a pseudo-homage to the ending of Night of the Living Dead, for instance, and the inclusion of “fake shemps,” a nod to the films of Sam Raimi); acknowledging other directors does not put you in the same league as them.
In summation, Cabin Fever is a bad movie and an especially bad horror movie. I can think of half a dozen other recent horror films I’d rather watch than this smarmy, often boring effort from a director who greatly overestimates his abilities and position in the horror genre.Colin Le Sueur