Peter Jackson calls Cabin Fever “the film horror fans have been waiting for.” Apparently, the profits from Lord of the Rings afforded him enough crack and Mad Dog 20/20 to make this movie bearable. For me, this wasn’t a film, it was an endurance test to see if I could make it to the end before my head exploded Scanners-style from exposure to pure cinematic stupidity and yet another nail in horror’s viability coffin. It’s as if Puff Daddy made a horror movie: sampling the best (and worst) bits from previous fright flicks yet using them without any of the previous wit or respect.
The “plot” goes as follows: 5 college pals (and don’t two couples ALWAYS travel with a stag loser) take a vacation in the woods of Buttcrack, Hicksville (where the local yokels like to bite out-of towners and the dimwitted deputy likes to get his drink on). After quickly establishing their one-note characters (the nice girl, her nice guy best friend who secretly wants her, the slut, her asshole fuck buddy and the obnoxious beer-swilling chunky guy), they encounter a bumpkin at their cabin door who’s infected with… something (minor “spoiler”: we never now exactly what). After the melting guy tries to steal their truck, the kids kinda set him on fire then go back to their business. Slowly, they get infected, infect others, get shot at, refuse to use their brains and leave, etc. ad nauseum. In the end, no one’s a winner and the door is left wide open for a sequel that if the world is lucky will never come. Most egregious of all is an inexplicable short sequence near the end where three characters straight from “da hood” show up in Hooterville and have a bizarre encounter with the general store owner that I, as a Black man, found pretty offensive. And I haven’t even mentioned the guy in the bunny suit who serves absolutely no purpose but figures prominently in the ads. If there was ever a movie that could make the creators of MST3K come back from retirement, this is the one.
In one of the worst cases of overblown hype since Pearl Harbor, “Cabin Fever” is a truly horrible film that will no doubt open big thanks to the omnipresent marketing (ironic, since it’s advertised as a slasher flick). As a hardcore horror buff, I found the scares non-existent and the gore perfunctory and joyless. I assume the positive response the film has been getting is due to people just wanting a horror movie-ANY horror movie. The one star I have given this piece of offal is only for the Angelo Badalamenti musical contributions (for some reason he didn’t score the whole thing) and the unbelievably out-there scene of a young redneck spawn breaking out into slow-motion kung-fu moves before biting a main character (yes, you read that right). This scene is so preposterous I spit out my popcorn with laughter, despite it’s “suspenseful” intent. With flicks like this, Freddy Vs. Jason, Jeepers Creepers 2, Darkness Falls and the like, the new horror boom is bound to dry up before it has a chance to really get good.
One Last Gripe: In the end credits, an actor is listed as a “fake shemp.” Horror fans should consider this “homage” an insult to Sam Raimi and the Evil Dead legacy.
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