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Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4
Eli Roth's CABIN FEVER is a sharply written and efficient spookfest. The
script even takes enough time in the beginning to do some genuine character
development before the shocks start.
The movie, which can best be described as 28 DAYS LATER MEETS DELIVERANCE,
concerns five young adult friends who have rented a remote cabin for a week.
Although their "resort cottage" is located so deep in the woods that the roads
don't go there, a few strangers nicely and not so nicely pay them visits during
Nestled snug in the cabin are Paul (Rider Strong, "Boy Meets World") and Karen
(Jordan Ladd), a couple who have been "just friends" since the seventh grade.
Paul clearly is looking for a relationship upgrade, and Karen may or may not be
interested in more than just a quick let's-test-the-waters kiss.
Jeff (Joey Kern) and Marcy (Cerina Vincent, NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE), who look
like they were probably king and queen of their high school prom, are the other
couple. A horny twosome, they can't wait to hit the sack after their arrival.
Marcy, who loves to show off her more than ample body, takes one of the film's
funniest and grossest moments late in the picture to shave her long legs.
The fifth cabin guest is Bert (James DeBello), a big, lumbering guy who is
always causing trouble. Since he is the only one unattached, don't be
surprised if you decide that he'll definitely be the first to die.
After the good times have rolled a bit for the partying five, death walks in
the door in the form of a horrible and highly contagious disease that causes
the affected to have their skin rot off and to spew blood like drunks at a
fraternity beer bust. (Speaking of beer, the movie would make a great beer
commercial, but I don't have time to go into why. See the movie, and you'll
figure out what I mean.)
The disease causes their long-time friendships to quickly unravel. They also
become down right inhospitable to the locals, who start trying to kill them as
well. A subplot involves a group of hillbillies who protect a local lad named
Dennis (Matthew Helms), who sits outside the general store and tries to bite
any person stupid enough to sit near him.
The movie is played mainly for fright, but there are plenty of laughs and some
sexual titillation as well. The best example of this is when Marcy talks to
Paul about her assessment of their situation. "It's like being on a plane when
you know it's going to crash," she tells him with a wicked looked in her eye.
Marcy has some specific action she thinks such a time calls for. As in most of
CABIN FEVER, it is a nice surprise.
CABIN FEVER runs a fast 1:34. It is rated R for "strong violence and gore,
sexuality, language and brief drug use" and would be acceptable for most
My son Jeffrey, age 14, thought the movie, which was the first horror movie
that he had seen in the theaters, was freaky but good and gave it ***. He
liked the mix of horror and humor and the way that the characters were just
enough, but not too much, so that we didn't care too much when they died.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes