Cabin Fever (2003)
Throw out all your foolhardy preconceived notions of what you believe to be mans greatest endeavor. Fire, the wheel, antiseptics, flight? Toss them all in a big garbage can, because Cabin Fever is the greatest single thing human beings have ever and will ever create. I hear a select few countering, What about the Renaissance? Oh yeah, did the Renaissance have gratuitous nudity? Wait, scratch that. Did the Renaissance have indulgent nude scenes involving the former Yellow Power Ranger? I think not. Did your fancy-smantzy Renaissance have dogs ripping people apart, backwater yokels who perform kung fu and hobos being set on fire? Thats what I thought. Now who looks like the fool? If I had to live in a Cabin Fever-less world, I would hope it would collapse upon itself, because humanity shouldn’t have to continue without this movie.
Cabin Fever is a delirious new horror film tweaking all the clichés and expectations of horror. Five friends who have just graduated from college rent a secluded cabin for a weekend. Then their numbers start dwindling through horrific killings. The brutal murderer? A flesh eating bacteria infecting their numbers, ravaging inside them and making flesh fall off like loose cheese on a pizza.
Once the group discovers that one of their friends has become infected they without hesitation quarantine her in a shed. They make failed attempts at getting outside assistance but are pushed back into the hot zone. Their fears and distrust manifest, and what was intended to be a sexual romp in he woods (we all know how that goes in horror flicks) has turned into a microcosm of Lord of the Flies meets Evil Dead II, with a dash of Night of the Living Dead.
What elevates Cabin Fever from similar brainless exercises in mutilating sexually active teens is its self-awareness and constant humor. It plays upon horror staples, particularly the notion of a nation of creepy backwoods folk waiting to take advantage of lost teens. Cabin Fever proudly wears its horror influences on its sleeve. The film is also relentlessly hilarious in its tongue-in-cheek self-awareness. I was laughing all the way through. The film even ends in an inter-racial ho-down with banjos!
The film isn’t so much scary, though it does have a few shares of scares. The film also isn’t as gory as youd believe, but when it shows the gory goods Cabin Fever swings for the fences. Interesting enough, someone on the Cabin Fever crew actually suffered an attack by flesh-eating bacteria in their life and claims the gruesome makeup to be 100 percent authentic.
Writer/director Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever is a scream. He has an amazing sense of visuals and creates a vivid picture of doom. He displays a sickly entertaining sense of humor, much like Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson did before they went Hollywood. The photography is great, the disgusting makeup is skin-crawling (perhaps a more appropriate term than intended) and the performances are dead-on camp. Each of the characters fits into a horror archetype from innocent girl next-door (who gets infected first), sexy brunette vamp, loudmouth drunkard and nice guy who lacks confidence (Rider Strong of Boy Meets World).
Now some will take umbrage to the fact I’m giving a goo-filled horror flick such a high rating. Cabin Fever is the most fun I’ve had at the movies in some time, and is perfect for getting a group of your friends together to experience. I couldn’t ask for more breezy entertainment from a movie. You know what else your fancy Renaissance didn’t have? People swallowing their harmonicas. I’m pretty sure they didn’t have that. Take that harmonica-less Michelangelo, you hack!
Nate’s Grade: A