Cabin Fever

1 out of 10

(OK, which way did my agent go?)

A Pastiche of the Absolute Stinkers of Horror

Horror films are a genre with more than their fair share of absolute stinkers. Cabin Fever is a worthy addition to this list, as I searched in vain for any redeeming features to this annoying, boring and very stupid film.

See if you recognize this movie. A small group of young people go to a remote cabin in the woods to let off some steam (i:e, sex and partying) when something unexpected and ghastly happens. They are trapped in the cabin and gradually begin to turn on each other, and anyone who tries to flee runs afoul of the vile and apparently sociopathic locals. Oh yes, and this occurs after they mistreat and effectively kill a mysterious stranger seeking their aid.

If you said "Evil Dead", "Friday the 13th", "I Know What You Did Last Summer" or "Deliverance", you're right. Cabin Fever is almost a pastiche of all these films, somehow selecting the least entertaining aspects of each and combining them into a very substandard product. The only original part of the plot is that the mysterious stranger has contracted a very nasty and contagious disease (think Ebola on steroids). This allows Eli Roth, the so-called director of Cabin Fever, to throw in a few gross special effects (that somehow kick in much faster for some victims more than others) and allow some justification for the hicks to go after our young vacationers.

Everyone in this film is annoying. All the young people are shallow, moronic and generally dislikeable, but their overall standard of acting is acceptable, so the blame for the leadeness of the action falls squarely on the director and the script. The character of Bert (James DeBello) is particularily excruciating: you wonder how someone so annoying, stupid and obnoxious could have got out of elementary school alive, much less make it to the cabin intact. It is Bert the squirrel-hunter that both gets the kids into trouble and really made me wish I was watching another movie: any other movie.

This film is gory but not scary, and has non-comedic comedic bits that interrupt the action just long enough to disrupt any tension that might have been developing. It was like trying to warm up in front of a too-small fire and every now and then some idiot throws a glass of water on the fire, reducing it to near-embers. There is one reasonably good twist near the end of the film (not original, of course), but apart from that little spike of surprise I can't think of any other part of the film that provoked a reaction from me other that distaste or boredom. Hopefully the DVD won't sell or rent and Eli Roth will be forced to make a real movie the next time he directs and co-writes.

Do NOT go to this movie, or buy or rent the DVD. You have better things to do with your time!

Film Critic: Douglas A Gunter