Cabin Fever, 2016.
Directed by Travis Z.
Starring Gage Golightly, Matthew Daddario, Nadine Crocker, Dustin Ingram, Samuel Davis, and Louise Linton.
A group of five friends are terrorized at their getaway cabin. A remake of the 2002 film, ‘Cabin Fever’.
For those of you that actually follow along regularly with the madness that are my weekly, sometimes daily reviews, you have come to the conclusion a long time ago that I watch a lot of movies; bad, decent, good, low-budget, art-house, independent, mainstream All genres; you get the picture. What this results in is a lot of what I watch ultimately becoming a blur in my mind and inevitably a long forgotten memory, unless a particular film was capable of standing out.
With that prefaced, I wasn’t really concerned knowing that going into Cabin Fever (a remake of Eli Roth’s campy body-horror cult classic that he has also produced, now directed by newcomer Travis Z) that the most crippling fault fellow critics are finding with it is that the movie does nothing to set itself apart from the original, and actually literally reuses Eli Roth’s original script. There are slight changes like turning the inept and dimwitted sheriff into a female, adding in some social media bits, and one character re-imagined as a gamer struggling to cope without Call of Duty for a week, but roughly 95% of this movie is an exact replication of what was released in 2002.
Unfortunately, even someone like me, who actually remembers nothing about the original film other than that I saw it in a theater, and found it intentionally bad to elicit laughter while also being serviceable at conjuring up some entertaining gore, kept feeling the sensation of familiarity. I caught on fairly early as to what was causing the flesh-deteriorating disease, and even started to recall moments from the original as this new film played them out exactly the same (most specifically, the infamous shaving scene in the bathtub).
Cabin Fever, much like the original, is not a very good movie, but kudos have to be given to the makeup department for creating some grotesque looking abominations of people as their skin continues to rot. Much like in the original, it is genuinely disturbing (and when a certain character begs for a mercy killing, you probably will feel sympathetic), but when the same movie is being redone scene for scene, the point does have to be asked of just what the fucking purpose is to this endeavor.
The brief moments of Cabin Fever I did enjoy (also, forgive me if these jokes were also in the original) involved Bert using his time away from video games to pick up an assault rifle and put his virtual reality combat training to the test by wandering around the woods. It shouldn’t come as a spoiler alert, but things don’t go too well, and I may be giving the movie too much credit here, but it is somewhat funny social commentary on some strange people that for whatever reason, feel they are mentally and physically equipped to own a gun and use it with deadly precision like some professional soldier. To clarify, I really don’t give a shit if someone wants to own a gun (I do support the Second Amendment to an extent), just that some of these people are a bit loony.
Expanding on that, if Cabin Fever had went further rewriting its original script (even a fraction more than 5%) to inject more modern-day touches that add interesting and comedic social commentary, there might have been a justification for the whole endeavor. One of Eli Roth’s strong points as both a writer and director are capitalizing on poking fun at important topics as a gateway into his blood obsessed ways. Director Travis Z doesn’t really understand this; he mutes the most entertaining aspects of the original, and more disappointingly, cannot find a voice of his own.
It also needs to be mentioned that the acting is very amateurish and wooden. The characters are already rather unlikable, featuring your typical college student behavior, but that doesn’t mean good performances are incapable of making you actually want to spend time with them. Everyone here is forgettable and you really won’t mind watching them die one by one (save for one female character that really does nothing wrong, and basically just suffers from the disease the whole movie in excruciatingly graphic detail).
I will give Cabin Fever this though; it’s got a few great raunchy sex scenes and delivers on the violence. The last 30 minutes of the movie are especially exciting, even though if you have seen the original you know everything that is coming next. If you haven’t seen Cabin Fever (2002) though, don’t watch this, because the original is much more idiosyncratic, odd, and accomplishes the same heights that this remake does. No matter how you slice it, there is no reason for this remake’s existence.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★