Cabin Fever

10/09/2017 15:48

Film: Cabin Fever

Year: 2002

Director: Eli Roth

Writer: Eli Roth and Randy Pearlstein

Starring: Jordan Ladd, Rider Strong and James DeBello



This film begins with a man who has a rabbit. The man is played by Arie Verveen. He tells his dog to come with him to get dinner. He pokes his dog and it isn’t moving. He grabs its arm and pulls it. The dog’s chest is open and there’s blood everywhere.

We then shift to a group of college students going to a cabin in the woods to party for the weekend. They are going in a truck that belongs to Joey Kern. Sitting next to him is his girlfriend played by Cerina Vincent. The backseat is actually in the bed and open. Sitting back there is Jordan Ladd, Rider Strong and James DeBello.

They stop off at a general store before they head to the cabin. Strong sits down on a swinging bench seat next to a boy. The boy is played by Matthew Helms. He doesn’t answer any of Strong’s questions, but freaks out and takes a bite out of his hand. The boy’s father, played by Hal Courtney, and he scolds Strong for sitting there. Strong states he should put up a sign. Strong goes to a creek around back, but doesn’t think it is sanitary to wash it there. The rest of the group goes inside the store where they meet the eccentric owner, played by Robert Harris. He makes a racist comment and they get their supplies and leave.

The group arrives at the cabin and settles in. Kern and Vincent go to have sex, getting interrupted by DiBello and Strong to start. DeBello brought a gun and he decides to go squirrel hunting. Strong and Ladd go to the lake to swim and he is trying to tell her he has a crush on her. They do kiss, but Strong is trying to figure out what that means.

DeBello sees something that is moving in a small ravine and shoots at it. It lets out a call when he does and he realizes that it is a person. It turns out he shot Verveen. This man is now sick and asks if that is DeBello’s cabin. He tells him no and then attacks him. Verveen flees.

The group parties at a bonfire while Strong tells a story about murders at a bowling alley. While they are talking, a man shows up with marijuana and he is played by Eli Roth. Roth is a skateboarder who goes by Grim. Ladd takes a liking to him and we see she isn’t as innocent as we thought. This bothers Strong how she is acting. They hear thunder and Roth has to go so the rain doesn’t ruin his stuff. The group goes inside and there is a knock at the door. It is Verveen and he recognizes DeBello. He shuts the door in the man’s face and he starts to mess with Kern’s truck. He turns it on and the group tries to get him out. DeBello shoots it with the rifle. Kern has a fire poker and Strong a baseball bat. All the while, Verveen is vomiting blood. They end up setting him on fire and he flees into the woods.

The next day, we see that Verveen put the fire out in a lake. The lake has a pipe that runs to the cabin. Ladd and Strong want to go home, but they need a mechanic to fix the truck. Kern and DeBello go to look for help. Vincent does the same thing, but by herself.

Kern and DeBello do find a woman, but she related to Verveen, so they flee. Strong does meet a deputy who is supposed to send a tow truck, the deputy played by Giuseppe Andrews. As they start to contract the flesh eating disease that Verveen have, the fear of each other starts to grow. Ladd is the first to get it and she is kept in the shed. Will they be able to fix the truck and escape? Will they realize what is spreading it? Is there a cure?

This film I originally saw in the theater and this is the first film from Roth. I really liked it the first time and still like it even after this watch. What makes a film like this great is the setting and the fear of contracting the disease. The setting is great, because they are out in the middle of nowhere and the vehicle is disabled so they are trapped. Isolation is great for horror films. The other part is that they don’t know who is sick, what is causing it and how they can get it, so it makes you fearful of your fellow man. That is another aspect that makes the tension ramp up. This film does have some weird dream-like sequences. They don’t make sense, but they are surreal. I like that they are in there though, because when you are feverous, you can have delusion, vivid dreams like this. The film though does have a little too much comedy for my liking and how some things play out I’m not sure I buy completely. The ending I really liked and it comes full circle.

I thought the acting for this film was solid. Ladd wants to do the right thing and we think she is innocent. She played that well, but I thought her turn that she has a wild side was solid. Strong was good as the lead and what makes him great is that he seems weak to start. Coming from Boy Meets World helps to establish that, so his turn at the end is solid. DeBello is funny and an idiot, but he is great in that role. His physical size makes his turn to action believable. Vincent is nude a few times, but she really isn’t much there as a character. She does have one of the grossest scenes with her shaving in the bathtub, which is great. Kern also doesn’t bring a lot to the film either. I think the rest of the cast aren’t bad in their supporting roles. I did think that Roth was pretty funny.

The best thing about this film is the practical effects. Roth is a horror fan so finally helming his first film, he went that route and it was great. I thought the images we get of the rotting flesh were solid. The vomiting of blood is done off screen a lot and we see the aftereffects, but when it is shown, it looks real which is great. Seeing the outcome of the dog attacks, gunshots and attacks was solid as well. I thought the editing was solid as well. The film is pretty tight and builds tension to the end. Even the surreal scenes are put together well. The soundtrack didn’t really stand out to me, but it also doesn’t hurt the film.

Now with that said, I would recommend this film. The concept of the film is great being that this group of kids is trapped in the woods and the fear of knowing who is infected and who isn’t. The ending is fitting which I really liked. The acting for the most part is good. The practical effects are solid, but I will warn that some are really gross and one scene in particular is really cringe worthy. The editing was well done and helps build the tension to the end. The soundtrack doesn’t add or hurt the film for me. Now there was a little bit too much comedy for me, but it doesn’t ruin the film. I think this film is good and deserves a viewing if you can handle seeing what a flesh eating disease does to the body and how people handle the fear of catching it.


My Rating: 7 out of 10