Cabin Fever (2002)

Ebert:1/2 Rolling Stone: TV Guide:

Warning, minor plot points revealed!

If I read one more review that compares this weak, lame, wanna-be to Evil Dead I might just have to kill someone myself.  Evil Dead (and Evil Dead 2) is a masterpiece of the genre and comparisons with Cabin Fever end after the first shot of a cabin in the woods.  It literally sickens me that a stupid film like this and the great movie Evil Dead are even mentioned together at all.

Cabin Fever is a low budget horror film that is getting way too much word of mouth endorsement and acclaim.  I know it's unlike me to grade a film lower than most mainstream critics but I was really disappointed by this movie.  The only reason I didn't give it one star is because it's got a hot naked girl in it.  Therefore if you deduct my one star bonus for nudity, I actually score the film even lower than Ebert did. 

The story consists of a group of graduating kids who decide to spend a week after finals at a remote cabin in the woods drinking and partying.  Immediately they encounter a guy in the forest covered in bloody sores who is  trying to get help.  They eventually drive him off by lighting him on fire and leaving him to die.   Soon after they begin to develop the same bloody symptoms.  Quickly they all turn on each other as the contagion spreads and the freaky back-woods locals who inhabit the area try to cover up the secret of the spreading disease.

One of the reasons I was excited about this film is that the featured disease is kind of based on a real flesh eating bacteria that actually does kill a number of people in the U.S. every year.  I knew it was going to be a low-budget affair but I anticipated low-budget like 28 Days Later not low-budget like the horror films my friends and I used to make in high school.  The disease effects basically consist of blood painted on the actors in various stages of infection and there is never any explanation for where or how the disease originated.  

I'm the last person in the world to complain about a film "not having any story."  In fact, I hate it when people say that.  More often, what they mean to say is "I didn't understand the story." (See The Matrix Reloaded)  As long as there are other things (action sequences, special effects, sexy people, etc.) to occupy time, I could care less about a weak or convoluted plot.  But this film had story lines that just spin off to nowhere and characters that serve no purpose what so ever.  I've never seen anything like it.    

There's a scene near the beginning where one of the kids gets bitten by a rabid little child at the general store in town that is run by the local hicks.  It would have been cool if the biting child was somehow worked into the story but he wasn't.  It was just a scene that came and went.  Then there's a scene where the kids meet a stoner camper who's also staying out in the woods with his dog.  We meet the guy, get to know him a little and then never see him again.  It's like he was just some dude who wandered onto the set one day and they left him in the film as a character.  Then there's a young police officer who is in a couple of scenes but his character is bizarre and makes no sense at all.  He rambles on about "partying" in one scene and then we see him "partying" out on the road with a bunch of local teens in another scene.  I think he was supposed to be comic relief like Deputy Dewey, David Arquette's character in Scream, but he ended up just being a weird and creepy guy in a cop uniform that would show up periodically for no good reason.  

In the TV commercial that is currently running they use a quote from Peter Jackson (director of the Lord of the Rings films) saying how great the movie is.  I can only assume that either the quote is taken completely out of context like "Cabin Fever is a great movie, except when compared to any other film of it's genre" or he is just trying to help some kids with a low budget horror flick because it reminds him of one of Jackson's own first horror films, Bad Taste.  

I was very disappointed in Cabin Fever.  I'll probably rent it once just to make sure I really didn't like it but I definitely recommend that you wait for the DVD to watch this one if you were interested.  I watched Once Upon a Time in Mexico before I snuck in to see this one so maybe my love of that movie tainted my feelings toward this one.  I can tell you one thing for sure...  I know Evil DeadI've probably seen the Evil Dead films over 100 times, and this my friend is no Evil DeadIt's not even close.