When a group of friends enjoying a bachelor cruise in the Caribbean stumble upon a research facility on a remote island, a deadly virus is unleashed. The group must find a way to survive before the flesh eating virus consumes them all.
The college friends Paul, Karen, Bert, Marcy and Jeff rent an isolated cabin in the woods to spend a week together. When they arrive, a man contaminated with a weird disease asks for help to them, but they get in panic and burn the man, who falls in the water reservoir and dies. The whole group, except Karen, makes a pact of drinking only beer along the week without knowing where the dead body is. When Karen drinks tap water and gets the disease, the group begins their journey to hell. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The original release had a brief mention at the end by the authorities about "finding a dead body in the basement", with no explanation to the audience about who they were talking about. This refers to a deleted scene where Paul throws one of the dying rednecks who were trying to kill him in to the cabins previously unseen basement. See more »
After Paul disinfects himself following his quick fling with Marcy, the level of Listerine in the bottle is clearly beneath the word "Listerine" on the label. In the next scene, when Marcy is washing her face, the bottle is clearly visible in the background and the level in the bottle is clearly above the word "Listerine". See more »
Hey, boy. Hey, boy. Hey, boy. Unn? C'mon, boy. Hey. Hey. Hey, fella.
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Released in 2003, "Cabin Fever" was Eli Roth's film debut; he would go on to make the 2005 horror hit "Hostel." "Cabin Fever" has become somewhat of a modern cult film due to its eccentricities and Roth's later notoriety.
THE PLOT: Five college youths -- 3 guys and 2 girls -- take a cabin vacation in the sticks of NC where they are threatened by a serious disease where those infected spit out blood while their skin wastes away. They soon discover that the local reservoir is contaminated. Can they make it out alive?
This is a heavy 'R' picture; Roth was tired of what he called the "watered down PG-13" horror films of the studios, and refused to compromise on the violence, nudity and cussing, insisting they were essential ingredients to an '80s-style horror film. Essential ingredients maybe, but such things can't make up for overall ineffectiveness. I just don't get what's so great about "Cabin Fever." The plot is good, as are other items, but the film leaves a lot to be desired, unless of course you're not looking for much intelligence or authentic horror and just want a fun, quasi-horror experience. Or maybe you have to be a "true horror aficionado" to appreciate it, whatever that is.
I was interested in "Cabin Fever" mainly due to the beautiful Cerina
Vincent. She was only 21 when the film was made and it shows. As good as she looks in "Cabin Fever" she's far more gorgeous in later films like 2006's "Sasquatch Mountain" and 2005's "It Waits," where she's more curvy with a fuller mane. - The picture's eccentricities are enjoyable, such as the weirdo party-dude deputy, the inbred karate boy (who looks like a girl) and, especially, the part where we're led to believe an old shopkeeper is prejudiced against blacks until we discover the truth at the end; that was a good one! - I like the early Fall backwoods North Carolina cinematography.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK:
The biggest problem with "Cabin Fever" is that it doesn't take itself
seriously enough. Isn't this supposed to be a horror film? Well, how can the viewer be horrified when the filmmakers keep telegraphing that it's all a joke? If we can't take the story seriously, we can't take the horror seriously either. Suffice to say, the story could have been horrifying but it's not. What we're left with is a somewhat amusing flick with horror trappings and gruesome elements, but no real horror. By contrast, the remake of "Dawn of the Dead" was successfully horrifying because the film (and filmmakers) took the subject seriously. - Some say the five protagonists are unlikable, but this isn't really true. They act like typical college youths trying to have a good time on vacation. What is a turn-off, however, is their over-the-top cussing. Don't get me wrong here because I actually prefer realistic cussing in film; in other words, I prefer that the characters talk like people in real life. As such, it's very rare that I complain about cussing in a movie (almost never). But, here, it's just total overkill. Now, someone may defend it on the grounds that people would likely cuss a lot in such a horrific situation and I would agree, but the characters overdo it well BEFORE anything horrific happens. Maybe the cussing overkill is part of Roth's joke: "Let's go ultra R-rated and overdo everything that's watered-down in a PG-13 film." Regardless, this approach makes his protagonists sound like morons who have no right to step foot into an elementary school English class let alone be college graduates.
BOTTOM LINE: While "Cabin Fever" has some positive elements -- Cerina Vincent, the NC backwoods cinematography, a couple of amusing parts and the end-credits song -- it's not horrifying at all because it's pretty much a big joke. But it is sometimes gruesome, if that's your thang. Furthermore, the overkill cussing of the protagonists gets old real quick. It's a trashy, ignoble movie and I don't get the hype.
The unrated version runs 98 minutes and the film was shot mainly in North Carolina, with some parts in Dundas, Ontario, and the Los Angeles area.
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