Cabin Fever

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Rating: R

Starring:
Rider Strong as Paul
Jordan Ladd as Karen
James DeBello as Bert
Cerina Vincent as Marcy
Joey Kern as Jeff
Robert Harris as Old Man Cadwell
Hal Courtney as Tommy
Matthew Helms as Dennis
Richard Boone as Fenster
Tim Parati as Andy
Brandon Johnson as Ray Shawn
Giuseppe Andrews as Deputy Winston
Richard Fullerton as The Sheriff

Special Features:
Director’s Shorts: The Rotten Fruit

Five Feature Length Commentaries

Beneath the Skin: The Making Of Cabin Fever

Family Friendly Version

Pancakes!

Chick-Vision

English and Spanish Subtitles

Trailers

Other Info:
Widescreen
Running Time: 92 Minutes

Synopsis:
Jeff, Karen, Paul, Marcy, and Bert are five college students heading deep into the mountains for a vacation at a remote cabin. As they indulge themselves with drinking, sex, and squirrel shooting, everything is suddenly interrupted horrifically when a hermit shows up. Horribly disfigured by a flesh eating disease, he asks the kids for help. When they refuse, he attempts to steal their truck and is killed in the process. Unfortunately, the group is still infected by their contact with the hermit.

As each of the group becomes sick from the mysterious disease, it quickly becomes a situation where it’s every man for himself. However, as they each go for help they find there are more problems than just the disease waiting for them.

Cabin Fever is rated R for strong violence and gore, sexuality, language and brief drug use.

The Movie:
Cabin Fever is an homage to many movies, but mainly the horror movies of the 70′s and 80′s. All the ingredients of the genre are here. You have gore, sex, and college students being murdered in horrific fashion. But rather than having a raving madman killing people, a flesh eating virus is the main factor that ends up driving the characters into killing each other. It gives the film a little more plot than many horror movies, but it still maintains the feel of the genre. There’s also quite a bit of humor in the film which lightens the mood.

Cabin Fever is successful at scaring audiences and setting them on edge because of one thing – it is able to tap into deep seated personal fears. Rarely, if ever, will we have a man in a hockey mask chase us down with a machete. That’s only scary to a certain degree. It’s when a movie hits on fears closer to home that we get really scared. Many of us have been scared of vicious dogs, cut ourselves while shaving, been fearful of being abandoned or sick, or terrified of gun wielding hillbillies. (OK, maybe that last one’s more for us in the South.) Cabin Fever uses all of these fears and puts them on screen for effective frights.

The cast is pretty good at what they do, but they may put a new spin on your view of them. Boy Meets World actor Rider Strong plays Paul in this film. He leaves behind the squeaky clean image of his sitcom TV character in favor of this role where he has sex scenes, murders people, and cusses like a sailor. It’s a side of him you’ve probably never seen before. The same goes for Cerina Vincent as Marcy. She used to play the Yellow Ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Now she’s shown nude, cussin’, and killin’.

Cabin Fever did make me think one thing. If I ever get a flesh eating virus in the woods, I’ll never ask anyone for help. I was baffled by the fact that whenever someone stumbled out of the woods seeking medical attention, people would stare at them, run from them, or shoot them. I would like to think someone would try to get help for them, but you can never tell with human nature. There certainly wouldn’t be a movie here if everyone was a Good Samaritan, though.

The movie does have some head scratching moments. For example, why would a woman take time to shave her legs when her friends are all being killed by flesh eating bacteria and a rabid dog is running loose? Why would a weird kid with a mullet named Dennis scream out, “Pancakes!!” and do karate? Where did the virus come from? Did the cops know about it before the events in this movie? It goes on and on, but it’s all forgivable. The movie’s wicked sense of humor let’s you know it’s not concerned with the details.

If you’re any kind of fan of horror, you should enjoy Cabin Fever. If you’re squeamish or you don’t care for profanity, gore, or nudity, then pass this one up.

The Extras:
There are a fair number of extras on this DVD. They aren’t all very long, but they certainly demonstrate the wicked sense of humor of writer / director Eli Roth and crew. Here are the highlights:

Director’s Shorts: The Rotten Fruit – These are apparently early “claymation” type shorts shot by Eli Roth and his associates. They feature a punk rock band made of fruit. The animated characters are shown in sexual situations, gorily killing other fruit, cussing, and doing various other things that border on an NC-17 rating. It wasn’t quite to my tastes and I’d rather have seen something more Cabin Fever related, but some twisted fans may enjoy it.

Five Feature Length Commentaries – There are five commentaries on this DVD featuring The Guys, The Girls, The Filmmakers, The Director, and Rider Strong. All of the commentaries feature director Eli Roth leading the discussions (which is helpful for keeping things rolling). Your selection of commentary will greatly depend on what you’re most interested in. If you’re a Rider Strong fan, you’ll want to listen to his lively commentary. If you’re into technical discussions, you’ll want to listen to the filmmaker commentary. If you want to hear the women talk about showing their breasts on screen, the Girls commentary is for you. This is probably more commentary than even die hard Cabin Fever fans can handle, but at least you have a selection to choose from.

Beneath the Skin: The Making Of Cabin Fever – This is a 30 minute documentary on the making of Cabin Fever. Introduced by a gore soaked Eli Roth, it shows a ton of behind the scenes footage, interviews with cast and crew, and more. One of the more amusing scenes features the attack dog used in the film. It turns out there was another one originally used, but it was so fat and lazy that they couldn’t do anything with it. Another dog was brought in that was so vicious, cast and crew hid whenever it did its scenes. Overall, it’s a fun and interesting look at the making of the movie.

Family Friendly Version – In this joke version of the film, we are treated to a “family friendly” version of Cabin Fever. Needless to say, it is two minutes long and mainly shows scenery. Quite a funny piece.

Pancakes! – I’ve seen this and I’m still not sure what it is. In this feature, we see the kid that played “Dennis” in the movie doing a variety of karate moves to rock music. We see the blonde boy kicking, twirling a staff, and doing various stunts. What this has to do with pancakes, I still don’t understand.

Chick-Vision – With this feature on you can watch the movie with big gray hands that pop up whenever something scary comes on the screen. It’s pretty funny, but I wouldn’t want to watch the whole movie this way.

I’ve also got to add that the opening menu is one of the most disgusting and disturbing that I’ve ever seen. It shows Marcy shaving her legs in the bathtub and the menu selections appear in her bleeding cuts. It’s not often that a menu alone makes you want to gag, but it sets the mood for the film.

The Bottom Line:
This one is mainly for horror fans. Everyone else should approach with caution.

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