Don’t catch the fever

Don’t catch the fever


September 17, 2003

Cabin Fever

Starring Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Joey Kern,…

Cabin Fever

Starring Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Joey Kern, Cerina Vincent

Directed By Eli Roth

Over the past week, fliers declaring “Peter Jackson, director of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, is raving … Brilliant! Fantastic!” have littered the campus. The flier is referring to the new gross-out horror flick “Cabin Fever.” I don’t know what kind of hobbit weed Mr. Jackson was smoking at the time this statement was made, but the film certainly falls short of being either brilliant or fantastic.

On the other hand, it is not surprising that Jackson would praise such a film, considering his earlier works – “Dead Alive,” for example, showcased a man pureeing zombies with a lawnmower blade. In spite of this, “Fever” seems too unnecessarily disgusting, even for Jackson’s taste.

“Cabin Fever” starts out with the usual cast of young, stereotypical horror-film characters: the slutty girl, the nice girl, the asshole, the guy who’s still a virgin and the crude, beer-swilling comic relief. While staying in an out-of-the-way cabin, a “crazy hermit” carrying a mysterious, flesh-eating virus infects transmits the infection to their camp and, unbeknownst to them, their water supply. Not only that, but – surprise – he causes them to destroy their only means of transportation.

Stranded, the campers begin projectile vomiting copious amounts of blood onto one another, rapidly spreading the virus. One by one, the campers either rot to death or get eaten by a rabid dog while in the process of doing so. But by this point, the characters have proven themselves to be so obnoxious that one can relish the sight of them hemorrhaging into oblivion.

Eli Roth, the first time writer/director behind this gem, has previous involvement with violent, bloody films. Before becoming a director, he worked for Troma, a New York-based production company known for outrageous, low-budget films, including the cult classic “The Toxic Avenger.” The influence Troma had over Roth is obvious. “Fever” is brimming with sex, dismemberment, maiming and bloodshed, all of which are done with a sick, comic twist, reminiscent of Troma. Roth also relies more on shock value than on plot or dialogue, another of Troma’s methods that he unfortunately chooses to use.

In hindsight, however, “Fever” does manage to maintain some morbid charm. The last half hour of the film suddenly turns into an insane whirlwind of hilarity, making up for the first hour of gory boredom. Perhaps if Roth had written the entire film this way, he could have made it worth the eight dollars spent to see it in the theater. For this reason, those who are still curious should definitely wait for the video release.


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