Movie Reviews 187 – Cabin Fever (2001)

Cabin FeverCabin Fever was writer/director Eli Roth’s film debut just before achieving even greater fame with Hostel. The title alone reveals that it employs the clichéd and overused Evil Dead ‘kids in a remote cabin’ plot, but it does bring a few minor twists to the table.

Unlike many such movies where a bunch of cozy friends group together and endure whatever sordid ordeal awaits them once they get to their cabin, this bunch quickly turn on one as they deal with a some weird hyper skin rash that slowly kills its prey. The infection starts with a hermit walking the woods (well his dog really) and eventually gets to the kids, but not until one of the boys accidentally kills the hermit. It doesn’t take long for the group to put the first girl infected into the shed for the night but needless to say, the infectious spread continues.

The kids are the usual stock of ‘cabin kids’; the jock, the princess, the goofball, and of course the ‘good guy’ trying to get noticed by the pretty girl who is oblivious to his pandering. While I had no problem with the characters, there wasn’t anything really new or interesting either. They get visits from a nearby weed smoking camper and a young idiot cop investigating the disappearance of the hermit and is blind to all the clues at the cabin as he tries act cool himself.

One saving grace of this movie is the high production values and dishing out some pretty gruesome gore. But other than that, I did not find it especially memorable compared to other movies like it. In fact, some of the setup scenes where the kids run into some of the locals before getting to the cabin are better than the actual cabin scenes. The best part of the movie is a particular one-liner at the beginning of the movie by the old store keeper that is preamble for the parting joke in the movie.

Not satisfied being an Evil Dead cabin clone, the movie does have a number of other subtle and not so subtle homages to other movies (Deliverance, Rituals) but the final scene ripping off the climax from Night of the Living Dead was a little hokey.

Seen better, seen worse.

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