Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Cabin Fever (2016)
DIRECTOR: Travis Zariwny
Five friends head to a remote cabin for a week-long getaway of fun, sex, and much-needed relaxation. Unknown to the five friends, the body of water that the cabin sits on is contaminated with a flesh-eating virus. When one of the friends unknowingly contracts the virus, the infection spreads quickly, which grabs the attention of the local redneck townsfolk and the local deputy who finally want to put an end to the virus once and for all.
When it comes to the supposedly dreaded remake, I'm not someone to dismiss them immediately. I have found that over the years, I have quite enjoyed my fair share of remakes. Many of which are based on some of my all-time favourite horror movies. I've found that I enjoy them immensely and even in some of these cases, the remake manages to best the original. So as I stated above, not all remakes are horrible, and I want to make that extremely clear before I get into my review of the dreadful Cabin Fever remake.
Let's go back to 1998 when Gus Vant Sant decided to direct a shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's groundbreaking masterpiece PSYCHO. One of the most influential slashers in cinematic history. The end result was not even close to being okay. Most found the remake to be a waste of celluloid and an exercise in pointlessness. For the writers and director to not even try and add something new to the remake was it's biggest downfall. So when I heard that Cabin Fever was using the same script as the 2002 remake, I was worried. Cabin Fever is no Psycho, but it was a fun cabin in the woods horror movie and introduced us to director Eli Roth.
After watching the Cabin Fever remake for the second time, I didn't hate it as much as I did the first time I witnessed it. When I first saw the remake back when it was released, I would have given the finished product a zero had I had my blog up and running at that time. I hated every single second of it. Watching it now, I still didn't like it for the simple fact it's an almost shot for shot remake that uses the same script with only slicker cinematography and buckets more gore but on second viewing I was less harsh coming out of the film.
The comparisons on where this remake manages to beat out the original are that this film has much slicker cinematography. The shots of scenery are stunning. The film is clearly a grander production, and you can tell immediately that they've had more to work with on this film. The other moments where the movie improves on the original is the gore. Cabin Fever was already incredibly violent and gruesome, but the remake takes it about five steps further and gives us some mean-spirited set-pieces. The film really sets out to be nasty and gooey, and it works in its favour.
This is where the positives end for the remake. The acting is a lot worse in this film. This, in turn, makes the characters all the more dislikable. I remember feeling sorry for some of the characters in the original, here I was relishing in the fact that these characters were rotting away and being killed off in horrendous ways. Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, Cerina Vincent, James DeBello, Joey Kern and Guiseppe Andrews were all so strong in their performances in the original that the actors in this remake fell short. Just nowhere near as good as the original cast.
Another element that is sorely missed from the remake is Eli Roth's sense of humour. While they used the exact same script as the original, they decided to leave all the dark humour from that film on the cutting room floor. The frat boy humour from the original is gone out of this remake, and it's felt all throughout the remake. The film tries to take the darker approach which I'm all for, but here, I felt like it was needed to lighten the absolute absurdity of some of the gorier and over the top scenes. In removing the comedy, it just becomes mean-spirited.
Other moments where this remake goes wrong is changing up our deputy from party dude to party chick. Instead of the weird and quirky Guiseppe Andrews who likes to party, he's been replaced with one of the most uncomfortable and sexually suggestive deputies on the force. Her need to party with people just comes across as incredibly creepy. We also have another odd and awkward character in the weed smoking hiker who was played by Eli Roth in the original. Here his jokes fall flat at every moment.
Lastly, like the Psycho remake, the Cabin Fever remake feels like a massive, what the hell is the point in remaking this movie if you're going to give us a film that feels like it hits beat for beat with the original? By the film's end, it all just feels like a movie that we've seen before. While the film has a few alterations, it's all still feels rather pointless. One movie that has me still scratching my head with its laziness at not even trying to be different or give us something new in the process.
DEATH TOLL: 9
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Someone is set on fire and burnt alive.
- A pig is gutted.
- A dog explodes blood after it's infected. Organs and guts are shown.
- A few bloody bites.
- A guitar is smashed into someone's face.
- Someone is fingered, but it turns out to be an infected wound.
- Lots of fleshy and rotting corpses.
- Someone shaves their skin off. A nipple also falls off.
- Someone drowns.
- Three people are mowed down by an assault rifle.
- A dog is shot after tearing someone into pieces.
- A shovel is used to sever someone's head from the mouth up.
While the original Cabin Fever wasn't exactly a groundbreaking film, it was still a fun debut from the new kid on the horror block at the time, Eli Roth. The film was violent, at times darkly funny and had a somewhat enjoyable premise with a little twist on the cabin in the woods subgenre of horror. When the news dropped that the remake was happening and that it would be using the exact same script, I was worried. All fears were realised and the results while not Psycho bad, this still felt like a waste of time. Just watch the original Cabin Fever as you won't be missing much with this retread.