CABIN FEVER - 2003
Lions Gate Films
Rated: USA: R
The ending. That's what's wrong with horror movies. Or rather, that's
where most horror movies go wrong. So many screenwriters come up with
cool ideas or situations and the movies get off to great starts only to
go off the rails in the third act when it's time to wrap everything
But enough of my ramblings. I have to tell you about CABIN
movie was directed by Eli Roth (HOSTEL, 2001 MANIACS)
and written by Mr. Roth and Randy Pearlstein. It's about kids in
the woods but these are horny teenagers, not film students, so there's
no BLAIR WITCH vibe. The kids are the truly
horny Jeff (Joey Kern: one of the stoners in the opening scene of Super Troopers) and Marcy (Cerina
Vincent: a former Power Ranger, IT WAITS), the "just friends" couple:
Paul (Rider Strong: THE STARSHIP TROOPER CHRONICLES)
and Karen (Jordan Ladd: EMBRACE OF THE VAMPIRE)
and obnoxious loner, Bert (James DeBello: SWIMFAN).
Finals have ended and these beautiful collegians want to get away from
An odd encounter with the locals at the general store introduces some interesting characters
and then it's on to the cabin and the increasing sexual tension.
Bert doesn't seem to notice and is content to wander off on a drunken
squirrel hunting expedition (no, he's not hunting
drunken squirrels he's the one
Bert misses a squirrel and hits a diseased hermit (Arie Verveen: THE RED LINE). This guy is in rough shape, bleeding from huge open sores, and getting shot doesn't help his condition. Bert is more
freaked out about not wanting the hermit to touch him than he is about
having injured a fellow human being. He uses his rifle to keep the hermit
at a distance and promises to go get help. Then he goes back to the cabin
and has a few beers with his friends.
The central theme here is morality. Not in a deep, philosophical sense but in a gross
out sense. We all like to think we'd help someone in need and we'd
especially come to the aid of our friends. But what if the people who
needed help were liquefying into bloody pulp? What if whatever they had
was so horrible that your fear of getting the disease outweighed your
Those impulses vary, from the morally vacant Bert to the good guy, Paul. And that kind
of morality play is potentially interesting. But is it actually interesting?
Before I tell you that I want to go into more detail about this liquefying into
a bloody pulp business with a
The monster in this monster movie is a member of the Streptococcus family,
but you know it better as the flesh eating bacteria. Its quite rare
but when it does happen it usually enters the body through a cut or other
injury. Once in the blood stream it infects the muscles and fat just beneath
the skin and produces toxins that dissolve the flesh in a process called
necrotizing fasciitis. Be careful if you google those words, by the way, because youll probably end up seeing some
of the grossest medical photos ever taken. This is a life threatening infection and treatment usually involves immediate
amputation of infected body parts.
And yes, the movie mostly gets the details right. This infection really isnt very communicable
(unless an infected bleeds into some elses open wound) but these kids aint exactly rocket scientists
so their ignorance (and terror about getting the
disease) is very believable. And the way they get infected
is basically believable, although it requires some criminal negligence.
Check out the !!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!
Unfortunately that's the only thing here that is believable. Almost everything
else, like what they do and what they say, is pretty freakin' unbelievable.
The main characters start out kind of interesting but its gets harder
and harder to care about them when you spend all your time muttering,
"What the hell? Why'd he do that?" The supposed-to-be-colorful
hick locals make even less sense and by the end of the movie youve
mostly lost interest.
It's really too bad. There hasn't been a decent movie yet about the flesh-eating
bacteria. Maybe it needs a better agent. I give CABIN FEVER two shriek girls.
copyright 2003 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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