A Film Review By The Mike
|Rating:RATED R for Violence, Gore, Sexual situations, Nudity, Language and Gore.
Starring: Rider Strong, James DeBello
Directed By: Eli Roth
Horror films have always been concerned with respecting those who have treaded the genre before them. When filmmakers like John Carpenter and Sam Raimi came into the genre in the late 70’s and early 80’s, they made sure to pay homage in their works to the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and George Romero. The same can be said for Wes Craven, although after a while he just started paying tribute to himself. The horror films of the last 15 years have all seemed intertwined, part of a big happy family of blood, guts, and chills. Now we welcome a new addition to that family, Cabin Fever.
Cabin Fever, the illegitimate child of The Evil Dead and Deliverance, is the story of five teens who take a trip to a cabin in the woods where they become terrorized by a strange disease that eats people’s flesh while they live (Hence the wonderful tagline – “Terror…in the flesh.”). This of course leads to mass hysteria, paranoia, and sex.
Director Eli Roth, making his feature film debut, definitely has a love for the films of Raimi and Romero. You can see in many scenes (especially in the last half-hour) that this film is clearly inspired by Evil Dead and Night of the Living Dead (How it made it to the screen without “Dead” in the title eludes my understanding), and it’s a fitting tribute. He perfectly mixes wonderful gore and humor to create a film that’s both chilling and entertaining, keeping us alarmed at all times.
I said the film had gore, and I meant it. The film is truly disgusting at times, managing to repulse me often. The weak stomached should be advised, this is not your Hollywood horror film. But the gore is there for a reason. The film’s most terrifying moments are in its horrific images, some of which have haunted me for the two days since I saw it. It’s not going to be a film that’s easily forgotten, and it’s not a happy touchy film.
With that said, the film also works very well comedically. There are some very funny scenes early on, led by a great comic performance by James DeBello. DeBello, who previously costarred in Detroit Rock City and the under-seen gem 100 Girls, provides some wonderful laughs, and functions really well in the film’s more serious moments as well. It’s the films strongest performance, but the rest of the cast in general is solid as well.
Sadly, the film has some major downfalls, most notably that it’s simply weird at times. There are scenes that will enthrall the eccentric viewer (I’d say that the scenes with “Dennis” were worth the price of admission alone), but others will look at them as random moments of incoherence. I also felt that the last half-hour of the film was a bit of a letdown from the terror that had existed in the second act, but I didn’t feel it was enough of a drop off to hurt the film overall.
In the end, Cabin Fever is a film that is perfect for the horror fanatic and will offer little to the average moviegoer. Too bad for them, as the visceral aspects of the film make it an excellent fright, one that gets under your skin and stays there. Literally.