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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Movie Review: Cabin Fever (2016)

If your vacation starts to go horribly wrong, do you finish it out or pack up and leave? In February 2016, I realized if my vacation went this wrong... screw packing, I'm out!

Directing this 99 minute horror is Travis Zariwny.

Some of the cast is: Samuel Davis as Paul, Gage Golightly as Karen, Matthew Daddario as Jeff, Nadine Crocker as Marcy, Dustin Ingram as Bert, Randy Schulman as Henry, George Griffith as Cadwell, Aaron Trainor as Tommy, Teresa Decher as Emily and Louise Linton as Deputy Winston.

Five friends hit the road and head to a cabin out in the middle of nowhere for a little fun and sun. Unfortunately, a stranger knocking on their door looking for help changes their plans and starts a
terrifying chain of events that they will never forget for as long as they live, which might not be very long with the way things are looking.

Back in 2002 I caught this really cheesy, (oddly) funny, gore filled flick that was hack-tastic in every way possible called Cabin Fever, and I'll admit it's one of my guilty pleasures that I return to every now and then to re-watch. Now, I wasn't a big fan of the sequel Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009), it just came off kind of dumb. However, the prequel Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (2014) brought me back to the franchise and I really dug it. So, when I heard there was going to be a fourth film, Cabin Fever: Outbreak, I was pretty stoked, but for whatever reason the fourth film fell through and they went with a remake instead. Now, Eli Roth is one of those directors (and I use that term loosely) that isn't for everyone. I've seen a lot of his films, and only like a few of them. Personally, I think he's a bit overrated and doesn't bring as much to the horror genre as everyone else thinks he does. Either way, someone (probably Roth) thought remaking this film was a grand idea because... here it is.
                                                                 

The screenplay that Randy Pearlstein came up with is based on Eli Roth's Cabin Fever (2002). If you've seen the original Cabin Fever then you've seen this one already, and enjoyed it more. Come to find out, they used the original script Roth used in 2002, but just trimmed the page count down from 134 to 92. The trim down is noticeable in the film because everything felt rushed, but then again when I was watching it I found myself wishing it was even shorter. They decided to go with a more serious tone this time around, which doesn't work for something like this. The campy cheesiness is what made the first one so good. It's the difference between Evil Dead (1981) and Evil Dead (2013). Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that Zariwny decided to throw some "originality" into his carbon copy project, but in the end it just wasn't entertaining. 

The playthrough held my attention, but mainly because I was curious to see what they did with the remaking of the story. For the most part, this one keeps about the same pace as the original. You get a gentle start of friends laughing and having fun. Then something tragic happens, and before you know it, it's a downhill race (spraying as much blood as possible) till the bitter end.

One of the problems with this one is that the time between the characters hanging out (us getting to know them) and their fight for survival is so short you don't really get a chance to get attached to anyone. I was never pulled into the film or worried if any of the characters could make it out alive. Whereas the original gave you that, and even when I re-watch it I still feel bad about a couple people that don't make it because I dug them. Here the characters are more annoying than fun, so I spent most of the film wishing people were dropping quicker so they would quit bitching and moaning - or even better, fighting among themselves.
                                                             

The effects were good and just as gory/gross as the original. Keep in mind this one is about a rapid skin eating disease.  So yeah, tons of blood and fleshy bits falling off as soon as things start to go bad for the characters in the story. Another stand out spot (besides the really good job on the effects) was the smooth camera work that helped make for some really good scenes. 

The cast was ok, but nobody from the main characters brought anything grand to the table. Linton, on the other hand, made her character stand out by being both oddly interesting and creepy, which worked because I oddly liked her performance. Unfortunately, Linton's parts were too few and far between to really help make the movie any better.

Overall, if you're curious about Cabin Fever then don't cheat yourself from a good experience and... watch the original. If you're short on time and just want the abridged version, then here you go. 

It's rated NR (not rated) but has violence, language and nudity. 

2 stars 


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