Review: CABIN FEVER (2016)

cfIn 2002, director Eli Roth threw his proverbial hat into the horror ring, with CABIN FEVER, a film that a lot of horror fans consider a modern day splatter classic. The shocker, which revolved around a group of vacationing students who end up coming into contact with a flesh-eating virus, was filled to the brim with good practical fx, interesting performances from Rider Strong, Joey Kern and Jordan Ladd and a handful of WTF moments, making it an instant hit with genre fans. 2009 saw the Ti West-helmed sequel, which had its own notorious stories due to some epic studio tampering. A good five years later, fans saw CABIN FEVER: PATIENT ZERO, a balls to the wall gross out splatter film that brought a new vibe to the series and showed that maybe the series had some fight left in it….until it was announced that the follow up to PATIENT ZERO would not be another sequel, but a full on remake to a film that was barely a decade old, and with the weird Gus Van Zant-like approach of using the same screenplay as Roth’s first film. SCAVENGERS filmmaker Travis Z. was chosen as the remake’s director, and here we are.

The questions on everybody’s gore-loving minds are expected ones: 1.) Why? and 2.) How does it hold up to the original film? Unfortunately, the answer to both questions are answers that don’t do much to help the film. What we’re given is a completely unnecessary remake that lacks any of the charm of the original film, and feels like a bad high school production of something that wasn’t spectacular to begin with.

Like the original film, CABIN FEVER revolves around a group of kids who take a small weekend vacation into the woods and to a cabin. They come into contact with a flesh eating virus and one by one, are consumed by the disgusting affliction. Where the remake could have done something new to that story, what we’re subjected to is quite literally, the same exact script, save for roughly around 5% of the film, and even with those small changes, it feels very much like a been there, done that situation. While the original had performances from Rider Strong, Joey kern, Jordan Ladd and others, this reboot gives its viewers one dimensional performances from one dimension actors, all doing their best at carbon copying other actors’ original roles, but with machine guns and a car chase to attempt to offer something different. We even get a new Dr. Mambo, the dog who belonged to Eli Roth’s silly character in his original film, but where the film could have broken up the tedious pacing and snore-inducing experience, the humor is sucked out of the film and when it does arrive, it’s courtesy of a now female Deputy Winston (Guiseppe Andrews did a great job playing the oblivious police officer in the original but we;re given a pretty wooden performance in this one).

It’s almost anger-inducing, watching this film. Where there are so many up and coming filmmakers all trying to get their films made, to no avail, the fact that this film exists is a slap to the face of not only those people who never get their chances, but also to the people who worked their asses off in Roth’s original film, just to be redone with the same script and a pointless experience.

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