Film-Forward Review: [CABIN FEVER]

Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video

A terrorized Marcy (Vincent). Photo: Lions Gate

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Directed by: Eli Roth.
Produced by: Evan Astrowsky, Sam Froelich & Lauren Moews.
Written by: Eli Roth & Randy Pearlstein.
Director of Photography: Scott Kevan.
Edited by: Ryan Folsey.
Music by: Angelo Badalamenti & Nathan Barr.
Released by: Lions Gate.
Country of Origin: USA. 92 min. Rated: R.
With: Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent & Joey Kern.
DVD Features: Director’s Shorts: The Rotten Fruit. Feature-Length Commentaries. “Beneath the Skin: The Making of Cabin Fever”. Family Friendly Version Pancakes! Chick-Vision.

Blood, sex and stereotypes, Cabin Fever has it all. Gorily funny and sadistic, it tells the story of young adults out on a camping trip deep in the woods, enjoying post-college freedom. We are given the sexy couple Paul (Debello) and Marcy (Vincent), the frustrated in-love best friends Jeff (Strong) and Karen (Ladd) and the token party guy Bert (Kern) out on a vacation. Complete with spooky music, mysterious locations and a creepy kid, our characters get, instead, a vacation from hell. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this film is in its unexpected plot and stylistic turn. We expect a horror movie in the tradition of Friday the 13th, and while the film does somewhat follow this anticipation, we also get elements of a sitcom crossed with ironic satire. Upon first viewing, this hint of irony is dubiously detected, but there nonetheless. And blood spurting from putrid wounds satisfies any thirst for gore while over-the-top characters provide the hilarity. All these elements combined, Cabin Fever serves its purpose as a sensational bloodbath with a satiric edge.

DVD Extras: The special features of Cabin Fever are just as entertaining, and a reason to rent the DVD, as the film itself. “Beneath the Skin” (a documentary on the making of the movie) is particularly interesting, offering an honest depiction of filmmaking and on-set relations. Candid remarks of the actors and interviews with various people associated with the film, including Roth’s dad, give us an intimate view of film production. Special effects are explained and secrets of the gore are divulged. Clay-mation shorts produced and directed by Roth are included, revealing a different aspect to his talents. These are as satisfyingly irreverent as the film. Lisette Johnson
February 22, 2004



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