Review: “Cabin Fever”

Already touted as the next big revolution in the genre, this indie horror flick sadly does not live up to that reputation. As a horror fan myself its interesting to see the path the genre has taken ever since its mid-90’s resurgence with “Scream”.

After its distinctiveness hit we were then bombarded with teen horror with slaps of comedy, relatively serious teen horror (“Final Destination”, “Blair Witch”), adult but gore-less spooky thrillers (“The Ring”, “The Others”), and in the last few months films harkening back to the late 70’s/early 80’s such as “House of 1000 Corpses” and “Wrong Turn”.

‘Cabin’ joins that last batch and although its safe to say its the best of the bunch its still nowhere near the previous four aforementioned examples. Taken for what it is – a low budget, somewhat camp, slightly gory schlock fest – it works on that level but its a film designed purely for genre fans and will have zero crossover appeal with mainstream audiences.

One of its biggest strengths is that unlike the seemingly repetitive “Wrong Turn”, this at least is split up into a series of memorable sequences. Leg shaving, cave exploring, visiting hospital, driving in a truck and even masturbating your girlfriend will take on a whole new unpleasant dimension next time you indulge in that activity.

The filmmakers aren’t afraid to lay on the gore with lots of blood and peeling skin, to the point where its kind of squirm inducing. Yet it remains a rather fun film with some good laughs at times such as one scene involving a ladder, a joke about a storekeeper’s gun and squirrels, and so forth all resulting in some twisted humour. Some of them of course do fizzle, such as the Super Troopers-esque deputy character but more often than not they work.

The downside is this may be horror but it ain’t scary. There’s practically no jumps in the film and some of the gore whilst overindulgent still looks somewhat cheap – the bleeding skin trick looks like its pasted on rather than anything realistic, whilst an attempt to have creepy/wacky townsfolk just doesn’t work.

The cast is fine, particularly DeBello as the wacky party animal of the bunch, Rider Strong as our handsome likeable hero and Cerina Vincent as the babe-a-licious beauty of the batch. All play the material as it should be, even if the supporting characters are all insanely over the top they may as well be parodying.

Whilst the locations look cheap, the cinematography and editing is nicely done for a low-budget flick and the directing keeps things moving even if the lack of script leaves it with nowhere to go. Revolutionary? No, but on the path down the ever winding highway of horror filmmaking its a fun little rest stop.