Sunday, November 6, 2022

Cabin Fever

Movie Name:
Cabin Fever
Year of Release: 2002
Director: Eli Roth
Starring: Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern, Arie Verveen, Matthew Helms, Eli Roth, Tim Parati, Hal Courtney, Dalton McGuire, Dante Walker
Genre: Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
Watch it on Amazon Prime

Synopsis and Review
Though now writer/director Eli Roth is a well known and celebrated film maker, "Cabin Fever" is in reality his feature directorial debut, which had its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in 2002. The film follows the story of a group of college friends, who decide to go unwind and spend a weekend in a remote cabin in the woods for Spring Break. While there they come in contact with a hermit by the name of Henry, who has become infected by something his dog was carrying. The group decides to push him away, and when he attempts to take their car to seek help, they eventually kill him. The next day some of the members of the group set out to find some help to repair the car, while the sensitive Paul who has always had a crush on Karen, stays behind trying to comfort her for what happened with Henry. When things start getting more intimate, she realizes she has an infection in her groin. As it worsens, the group decides to isolate her in a nearby shed, for fear of contamination. As events escalate and the infection progressively spreads throughout the group, Paul discovers that Henry's dead body ended up on the water reservoir and has in fact contaminated the water supply. 
"Cabin Fever"'s setting immediately brings to mind Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead". However and unlike that series, this film goes in a slightly different direction, one that is not so reliant on the paranormal, but one that instead relies on a few different horror movie tropes that hark back to even John Boorman's "Deliverance" (or for that matter, Wes Craven's "The Hills Have Eyes"), case in point, people on remote and isolated villages who are vile, violent and racist (to name but a few of the terms with which they're characterized). What gives "Cabin Fever" its distinct flavor is the fact that the director sets a horrific set of events in motion, each perpetually worse than the previous, while also playing with the tropes of the genre itself (turns out these teenagers are not so innocent, and the people in the remote village, are not all overwhelmingly so vile). However and while the director keeps a brisk pacing to the events taking place, with the film at times playing like a taut B-movie, it still lacks more dimension to its characters, not to mention some insightful humor and a more distinct tone/point of view (for instance, akin to what Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino did with their "Grindhouse" films). The cast is uneven in their quest for success in bringing these characters to life, but the film is nonetheless watchable, though not necessarily memorable.