Director – Eli Roth
Cast – Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern, Arie Verveen, Robert Harris, Hal Courtney, Matthew Helms, Eli Roth
Release Year – 2002
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Eli Roth has become a big name in the horror genre, and he owes a fair amount of thanks to his debut film “Cabin Fever”. A fun and gory ride that gives shout-outs to the fun 80s films we love so much, this film gave us an original plot and managed to do very much with such a small budget. This guy knows his stuff, and is an obviously an avid and lifelong fan of the genre. I like to rag on this guy a lot for his immense brown-nosing of horror greats like Sam Raimi, but he sure does know how to make a fun film.
This film follows five college friends who embark on a cabin trip for the weekend. During their stay they come into contact with a contagious flesh eating disease that torments it’s victims with gory results. During their panic the group of friends venture out for help, which only worsens matters for them when they piss off a group of locals that will do anything it takes to contain the virus.
I was really surprised with how good this film actually is. I won’t say it is absolutely amazing, but when you consider that Eli Roth was a first time director it really makes this film all the more enjoyable. His pacing is great, and this film never loses the viewer’s interests with it’s use of campy humor supplemented with some nice gore and horror shout-outs. The character “Bert”(James DeBello) was the classic horror character we see in so many enjoyable “campy” horror flicks. You know the type…funny, perverted, usually single(for obvious reasons), and always has a pretty classic and enjoyable death(spoiler, I know). Roth does not skimp out on the gore either, adding some pretty hard to watch scenes once the virus begins to take it’s effect on the unlucky campers.
Story wise, we get one that I have not personally seen in any other horror film. Thankfully, this unique story was executed properly. I have seen so many horror flicks with AWESOME storylines but extremely poor execution, which always ends in a very wasted effort. What really adds to this storyline is Roth’s use of random characters thrown in from time to time. The party-obsessed cop and Grim(played by Roth himself) added to the fun of this film and helped with it’s pacing and keeping the viewer engaged.
There is nothing I really did not enjoy about this film. Sure there could have been more done with this flick, but given it’s low budget you cannot blame this film for it’s non-ventures. This film does a lot with what it is, and I respect that.
Overall, this is a very positive watch that I recommend to all horror fans. A fantastic debut effort, this flick is what brought Mr. Roth onto the horror scene and shows the despite his brown-nosing abilities, the guy does have some good talent.
– I ranked this film #47 in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade(41-50) post.