Sunday, October 2, 2016

Film Review: Cabin Fever (2002)

Cabin Fever (Review)
United States/2002
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review

"...for fans of splatter films, it's definitely a fun and bloody experience."

A group of college students rent a cabin in the woods, where they fall victim to a flesh-eating virus...

Cabin Fever follows a group of college students – if you've watched plenty of horror movies, you're right to assume they are douchebags. The group consists of Paul (Rider Strong), Karen (Jordan Ladd), Jeff, Marcy, and Burt. So, this group stay in a cabin in the woods. All is well until they are attacked by a hermit who appears to be diseased with a flesh-eating virus – a hermit who also happens to damage their only vehicle. Anyway, the disease starts to affect them one-by-one. There's a bit more to the story, but nothing worth getting into detail. It's very simple, almost too a fault. I liked the ending, though.

Cabin Fever isn't perfect – not at all. The concept is great, but the story is flimsy. It has a story, obviously, but it's not particularly interesting. In fact, there are a few moments where it slows to a crawl. The characters are also generic, which makes them feel expendable – you just don't care. It's not all bad, though. In terms of plot, the simplicity is attractive for a pick-up-and-play 90 minute feature. The blend of body horror and black humor was also effective. Yes, some of the jokes fall flat, but it got me to chuckle a few times. As for the horror, it's not a suspenseful or atmospheric horror movie. This is gory stuff. Fortunately, it works well. There are some truly unnerving scenes in here. The 'what-if' question works well here, too. What if this happened to you?

The acting was decent. Rider Strong was okay as the leading man. He doesn't stand out, but he's not bad. Jordan Ladd and James DeBello offered solid supporting performances. The film was shot well, too. The practical special effects were good. Although some scenes were unnerving, there weren't any shocking or wow moments when it came to the special effects. The film was written by Eli Roth and Randy Pearlstein; Roth also directed. The writing can be hit-or-miss, especially due to the generic characters and plot contrivances, but it was fun. Roth isn't a master of suspense, but he's a more than competent filmmaker. He knows how to craft gory set-pieces.

Overall, Cabin Fever is a good horror movie. It doesn't really leave an impression, but, for fans of splatter films, it's definitely a fun and bloody experience. It's worth a rental or stream, especially for fans of Eli Roth. As a side-note, I will say I particularly remember this film for two reasons: 1) it released on my eleventh birthday and 2) it featured Rider Strong. You see, like many kids born in the 80s/90s, I was a Boy Meets World fan. That's all I wanted to say. The review is finished. Now.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, sex and nudity.

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