Cabin Fever

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Cabin Fever
Review (6/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Cabin Fever is a film that has been receiving a tonne of accolades and even more publicity for almost a full calendar year. It made its debut at last year's Toronto International Film Festival and following its screening, a bidding war erupted involving various studios for the rights to this low-budget film. It even received a glowing review from The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, who apparently halted post-production on the third installment of his own film in order to screen Cabin Fever to his own cast and crew - not once but twice. According to Jackson, the movie was, and I quote, "Brilliant! Fantastic! Horror fans have been waiting years for a movie like 'Cabin Fever.' I loved it!". He said that he had not seen an American horror movie like this in 20 years.

I saw Cabin Fever. I liked it. But do I think this movie will single-handedly redefine the horror movie genre for years to come (as many people seem to be suggesting, even those who have yet to see the film)? To put it bluntly, no. In fact, I have trouble even classifying this movie as horror. To me, a horror movie has to be scary. The Exorcist is a scary movie. Halloween is a scary movie. Hell, The Blair Witch Project is even a scary movie. Cabin Fever is not a scary movie - ever. It is a movie that has an uneasy feeling to it. It is a movie that has lots of blood, some peeling skin, a "scary" bunch of inbreds and a masturbation scene that is just plain wrong. But scary? For the first half-hour of the movie, I felt extremely uneasy, just waiting for something to happen. But when I realized that the movie is basically about five pot-smoking, beer-drinking, horny young adults who take a trip to an isolated log cabin in the middle of the woods and they end up being the victims of an unexplained flesh-eating disease, well, I just was not scared. If I were in their place, I probably would have been pretty freaked out but watching them on the big screen was not a frightening experience. There were no monsters, no zombies, no crazy animals. Well, I suppose there was one crazy animal.

The movie has a lot of characteristics of your average horror movie - young, foolish adults, lots of blood and guts, hillbillies, naked women with great, great boobs and a nowhere to run nowhere to hide attitude, but I just did not feel threatened by the virus that was eating away at the cast. This movie is more of a blood, guts and gore movie than it is a horror movie. And because of that, Cabin Fever is not a movie for everyone - it is a movie for those who appreciate seeing blood being puked up all over the place with a little bit of dark comedy added to the mix to take off the edge. Fans of the "gore" movie will appreciate the work of the young filmmaker Eli Roth and the homage he pays to horror classics like The Thing, Deliverance and The Evil Dead. Movie fans will appreciate the acting of the entire cast, including my favorites from the movie, James DeBello (Bert - the guy was a hoot), Joey Kern - the guy who stole the show in this summer's box office bomb Grind (Jeff) and Giuseppe Andrews (Deputy Winston). But I am afraid that unless you are a devout fan of the "gore" genre (and I know there are lots of these fans out there, and loyal fans they are), then this movie is not for you. I am a fan of horror movies - scary horror movies. But for me, watching someone spit up gobs of blood does not really do anything for me except leave a scrunched up look on my face and maybe uttering the words "oh fuck", "what the fuck" or "fucking gross" under my breath. That's about it.

With that being said, Eli Roth has assembled a good cast, put together a tight script and directed a fast-paced movie that will have many fans of blood, gore and twisted humor squirming with joy and singing his praises for years to come. There is no doubt that Roth has talent and will be heard from in the future. But for those of us who only want to see that shit-in-your-pants scary horror movie, well, I guess we'll just have to keep waiting to shit our pants.

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