Cabin Fever
4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
cabin fever Director-cowriter Roth creates an unapologetically classic-style horror film with this genuinely inventive and scary thriller. We're in an anonymous redneck American forest, where five young people have rented a cabin to celebrate finishing university. Jeff and Marcy (Kern and Vincent) are the love birds; Paul (Strong) wants to, erm, deepen his long-time friendship with Karen (Ladd); and Bert (DeBello) is the good-time boy up to all manner of mischief. What they're not prepared for is a highly contagious flesh-eating virus that's going to make everyone in the woods start acting even more nuts than normal.

Horror fans will love this lively, entertaining movie, which grabs hold of us from the start and never lets go. The script is punctuated with constant humour that comes organically from the characters and ironically from the situations. In other words, our laughter is mostly of the nervous sort as events become increasingly unpredictable and terrifying. Death looms large in every scene--rarely where we think it might be--while every character is a bundle of specific personality tics that make them easy to identify with ... and to laugh at if we need to. In this way it feels frequently like a David Lynch film, with offbeat details and even a few Angelo Badalamenti numbers on the score (indeed, Roth has worked with Lynch). But it's more like a throwback to 1970s-style horror where everything about the film is unsettling and scary, from the strong performances to the anachronistic music (the folk tunes come from Wes Craven's seminal The Last House on the Left), from scary campfire stories to blood-soaked gore. Roth shows a real gift behind the camera (he's also on screen as a pot-head skater), creating a growing sense of dread so we just have to brace ourselves for whatever he has in store. Brilliant. And if you learn just one thing, it's this: Don't touch Dennis.

cert 15 themes, strong violence and gore, language, nudity, sex 14.Jul.03

dir Eli Roth
scr Eli Roth, Randy Pearlstein
with Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern, James DeBello, Giuseppe Andrews, Hal Courtney, Robert Harris, Matthew Helms, Eli Roth, Christy Ward, Richard Boone
release US 12.Sep.03; UK 10.Oct.03
Lions Gate
03/US 1h34

Some vacation: Vincent (with Ladd and Strong in the background)...

See also: Q&A WITH
ELI ROTH AND THE CAST

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R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... cabin fever Dana Stary, Jersey City: "The movie was more appealing to think about than to actually see. The scenes were gory and there was no explanation as to where the virus actually came from or a cure for it. The plot was drawn out and boring, as were the unnecessary sex scenes. And the movie might as well not have had an ending. It was corny and I wish I didn't bother to see it." 23.Sep.03

Masp, Texas: 2/5 "well, this movie certainly held me till the end. It was filled with seems like non-stop gross-out scenes and gore pouring everywhere. Over all i liked it but the ending was retarded..and as far as seeing this movie twice...doubt it." (19.Nov.03)

Wilso, net: 5/5 "I think this film was wicked. The ending aint totally retarded - you obviously had ur eyes shut for the ending. I think its one of the best films out....its quite gory but it totally rocks." (13.Mar.04)

2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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