According to press reports, writer-director Eli Roth saved money for ten years to bring his first film, Cabin Fever to the big screen. Investing ten years in any endeavor warrants a certain amount of respect, andCabin Fever garnered quite a few accolades at the Toronto Film Festival. Given the buzz surrounding this low budget horror flick and my affinity for the genre, I was hopeful for some new twists and some sporadic, cheap thrills. Instead, I found myself wishing a rampant celluloid virus would consume Roth’s vision.
Roth relies primarily upon red dye, Karo syrup, and an abundance of projectile vomiting
Cabin Fever doesn’t deviate from the standard horror film (you can upload the live wallpapers hd with favorite films on your iPhone)set up. A group of young adults indulge in debauchery and good, dumb fun during a school vacation and run afoul of something sinister during their escapades. Roth’s group of youngsters, comprised of Paul (Rider Strong, My Giant), Jeff (Joey Kern, XX/XY), Karen (Jordan Ladd, Never Been Kissed), Marcy (Cerina Vincent, Not Another Teen Movie), and Bart (Vincent Debello, Scary Movie 2) opts to drive out to the middle of nowhere and stay in a cabin for their kicks. Things go awry when a man suffering from a backwoods skin eating virus (think "hick hemorrhagic fever") stumbles upon the unfortunate youths. Commence with the bloodletting and bring out your dead.
It’s difficult not to draw comparisons between Cabin Fever and The Blair Witch Project. Both were independent horror films that generated a lot of buzz and both films take place in similarly isolated backwoods settings. I was not a huge fan of The Blair Witch Project and did not find it nearly as scary as many others did. However, what The Blair Witch Project did exceptionally well was create a pervasive sense of claustrophobia. Something was definitely out there and there was seemingly nothing that could be done to escape it. It was a film that got inside of your head and resonated because it played upon very primal fears. Unfortunately, Cabin Fever fails to capitalize on the claustrophobic qualities of the setting in which it takes place. Roth makes it evident that Paul and his cohorts have to drive out in the middle of nowhere to get to the cabin, but that’s about as far as it goes. Instead Roth relies primarily upon red dye, Karo syrup, and an abundance of projectile vomiting. Most of this serves to make one cringe, but there were few moments that were truly jolting.
In horror films, the music is critical in creating a certain mood, hopefully, serving to make the audience uneasy and keeping them off balance. However, Roth really beats the audience over the head with foreboding music, using it to predict every thrill in the film. As a viewer, I quickly became conditioned and within 15 minutes, nothing was really shocking anymore. A more skillful horror film director would know when to include moments of lengthy, uncomfortable silence or at least use a variety of music depending upon the gravity of the situation.
Roth also fails to develop any meaningful characters. In a film like Scream, we care about the main character because we know she has encountered a great tragedy in her past that still haunts her. Additionally, she is also a genuinely decent person. Rider Strong’s Paul is initially made out to be a redeemable character that the audience can identify with, but Roth eventually subverts this as the film progresses. The film trails off with horror film stereotypes and cliches.
Not to belabor the fact that I found little about this film gratifying, but I really had a problem with the glut of poorly thought-out contrivances that prevented the kids from escaping. I can’t count the number of times something completely absurd and implausible served as an insurmountable obstacle. A single dog manages to terrify the kids so much that they are afraid to leave the cabin. This is not a ravenous, mutated, vampire dog, but a garden variety mutt. Apparently, the abundance of fireplace tools, large sticks, and a fully loaded gun was not enough to confront such a threat. Granted, with many horror films a certain amount of these kinds of contrivances is to be expected, but the better horror films allow you to suspend at least a modicum of disbelief. Such is not the case with Cabin Fever.