Movie of the Day – Cabin Fever
October 1, 2012 8 Comments
So it is October now and that means all thoughts turn towards either Halloween or Christmas. Thanksgiving is just the waypoint between the two holidays and it’s only good for turkey and sleeping. So in an effort to spread the cheer and fear of Halloween, I will be posting nothing but horror movies for the Movie of the Day post. Some will be true horror movies, others will be horrific to me for other reasons. All will fall within some scope of horror. So to kick this off, a little Cabin Fever.
Five college buddies retreat to the woods for a little R & R and end up getting a horrific lesson in infectious disease in this low-budget shocker. Cabin Fever stars Rider Strong as the geeky Paul, who hopes to settle in around the campfire with his brash buds Jeff (Joey Kern) and Bert (James DeBello), and make the moves on the nubile-but-shy Karen (Jordan Ladd). Unfortunately, a wayward, forest-dwelling vagrant (Arie Verveen) stumbles into their lives, his skin badly desiccated by a mysterious virus. Fearing for their own lives, the quintet decide to do away with the man, with little success: He stumbles away from the campsite and into a nearby stream, where his disease quickly infects the local water supply. It isn’t long before the oblivious co-eds get a taste of the man’s illness, and in their desperation, each learns that he or she will stop at nothing to survive. ~ Michael Hastings, Rovi
More gory than scary, I still get some chills when watching Cabin Fever. I will at least hand it to Eli Roth for making an entertaining movie and a nice send up to horror movie conventions. It’s a mash up of different horror elements that doesn’t reinvent the genre, but at least it knows what it is and does it well. Eli Roth is kind of a torture porn fanatic, considering his follow-up movies have been more towards the gore fest, rather than playing with the audience in a suspenseful manner. I must admit that Cabin Fever is a just a fun watch all around with such grotesque and absurd situations that add a bit of gallows humor into the proceedings.
Cabin Fever definitely leans on the hillybilly, mountain setting to fuel that unfamiliar place that horror movies need to drop their characters into so that they get flustered and make stupid decisions. That lonely cabin in the woods is also another horror element, setting up isolation and a claustrophobic nature to heighten the tension between the characters. The real care and craft, if you want to call it that, comes from the horrific mutilations and gore in the movie. Skin peeling off the body, showing the muscles and tissue beneath the cover, a lot of blood and the fact that the camera never looks away from a terrifying moment. It soaks it all in and never filters it for the audience, reveling in the bloodbath that Roth has created. You got to appreciate that sort of commitment to the grotesque feature.
I think a lot of people would classify this as a horrific movie. Not in the sense that it is bad, but that the movie never looks away from the moments of agony. We watch, unflinching, as the cabin mates struggle to survive whatever is happening to them. The kill, claw and fight their way to safety, sometimes with no payoff. But I find this movie terrifying for a completely different reason, a reason that would keep me from ever visiting this back wood mountain areas.
What. The. Fuck. Karate flipping, hand biting kids apparently run that town. That is horrifying.