Cabin Fever avoids the typical horror plot but not any of the other clichés, as it fails mightily to make a mark on the genre. However, as entertainment value goes, there have been worse.
The movie stars the typical lot of horny college students - the couple that wants to have sex all the time (Joey Kern and Cerina Vincent), the two friends that are on the verge of becoming something more (Rider Strong and Jordan Ladd), and the goofy, irresponsible jerk (James DeBello) - who have traveled to a remote cabin for a week, a la Evil Dead. Unlike Sam Raimi's classic, however, these kids fall victim to a hideous disease, and they soon turn on each other (sort of), not wanting to meet the same fate.
Cabin Fever is intentionally a B-grade horror flick, not really campy but never completely serious, either. The actors, though all quite bad, at least seem to be having fun with the material, as they get to do everything from have sex, make cheesy jokes and spit out large volumes of fake blood. There is a fair amount of blood, but with exception to a few brief moments in the end, the marketing campaign's claim at being incredibly gory is way overrated. It is nothing compared to some of the classics. There is a little bit of nudity, which is nice, and one cool scene where there are lots of murders, but other than that, Cabin Fever does not have anything too notable.
The idea does have potential, but the execution is quite lackluster; the direction is nothing special and at times the movie seems as though it should be made for TV (okay, most of the time). Strangely enough, the concept would have worked much better as some kind of teen drama than as a horror movie, as it really isn't scary or suspenseful in any sense. Sure, a few characters lose a bit of their skin, but that isn't enough to frighten audiences these days.
For the most part, Cabin Fever does maintain some level of entertainment, partially thanks to its short running time. The film moves along at a fast pace, and, never taking itself too seriously, draws a few laughs. On the other hand, there are several scenes that make no sense, especially toward the end. The ending really is quite a disappointment, as nothing good is really resolved and it just meanders through a bunch of pointless scenes wrapping up a bunch of the movie's running jokes. It is anti-climatic to say the least.
With a big group of people, this movie could have its value, but as horror movies go, it is nothing. It is slightly funny and moderately entertaining, but a lackluster film through and through. Cabin Fever isn't dead; it's just a little sickly.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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