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Cabin Fever
Written: Eli Roth, Randy Pearlstein
Directed: Eli Roth
Staring: Jordan Ladd, Rider Strong, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern
Opens September 12th

What With 'Deliverance' and Now This, I don't Think Anyone's Going Into the Woods Ever Again

There isn't too much to say about Cabin Fever except 'Holy Shit!' and 'What's in the box?'

At first I was thinking, "Who in the hell would make a movie about a flesh eating bacteria" but now it's more like "Why isn't flesh eating bacteria it's own genre of horror, this shit is fucking scary!" Cabin Fever is one of the most perfect horror movies I've ever seen. Mind you, you'll really need to like horror to get into it, but if you do, if you really like being creeped out and made slightly nauseous and totally jumpy then this will absolutely do it. I'm still feeling itchy all over and checking my legs for raw spots.

Even though it follows the fairly classic and over used 'group of teenagers are stranded in the woods somehow when all of a sudden…' style, it's far from generic. The style, pace and atmosphere of the film are stunning. One of the really nice things about Cabin Fever is that Writer/Director Eli Roth realized that in order to effectively work as a horror movie, the film had to be somewhat unrealistic. Almost every horror film has an air of disbelief about it; life is, frankly, just not that scary. In this day and age it's simply not possible to be stranded somewhere with no avenue to aid. So you have to resort to hyperbole and fantasy for your terror.

Free Williamsburg
Film Archive


Cabin Fever
American Splendor
Don't Tempt Me
Magdalene Sisters
Garage Days
Dirty Pretty Things
Buffalo Soldiers
The Sea Is Watching
Capturing the Friedmans
The Eye
28 Days Later
Cowboy Bebop

Washington Heights
Better Luck Tomorrow
View From the Top

Laurel Canyon

Ordinary Sinner
Dark Blue
The Quiet American


Hell House
Good Housekeeping
Roger Dodger
Spirited Away
Punch-Drunk Love
Bowling For Columbine
Scarlet Diva
Full Frontal
Sex and Lucia
The Powerpuff Girls Movie
Read My Lips (Sur Mes Levres)
The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Human Nature
Shot in the Heart
Jim Brown: All American
Stolen Summer
Ram Dass: Fierce Grace

But, what Roth does so well with Cabin Fever is a slow and deliberate introduction of the absurd in very small increments. The beginning of the movie is rather unthreatening, kind of creepy, and totally believable. Once the hicks are introduced you get your first taste of the absurd. But it's so small that you forgive it. "OK," you say. "I'll give you that little bit." And then further down the road, when Bert (DeBello) encounters the Hermit, the movie asks for a little bit more, and then a little more and a little more. Until by the end of the movie you find yourself willingly going along with completely unbelievable scenarios (death by harmonica!? Dennis doing Kung Fu? What the fuck?). And you find yourself totally freaked out and loving every single minute of it.

Roth also beautifully intertwines humor in with the fright, not too much that the movie becomes a mockery, and not so little that the movie feels like it's taking itself too seriously. Also there isn't a single beat dropped; every moment that can be used to heighten the terror is exploited, anything that could freak you out does. The best moments are when Roth combines the humor and the terror together, so that you find yourself laughing hysterically while you jump and squirm with fear at the same time.

Like I said there really isn't much to say about this movie except that it's sooooo good. An excellent job of writing directing and acting are supported by a genuinely creepy atmosphere in the sets, the cinematography and the sound design, all producing a near perfect package.

The Ratings

Zero Grandmas

This isn't a movie for the feint of heart. The only way you'll like it, is if you really go in for horror movies. You have to go into the theatre wanting to be scared. If you do, however, you'll be quite richly rewarded.

Four buckets of ketchup….err, I mean blood

While Dead Alive still takes the cake as the bloodiest movie ever made, Cabin Fever is so full of blood and gore and dismembered feet that even the halest of the lot will feel pretty damn queasy and itchy and generally diseased and disgusted.

One hanging question

What's in the fucking box? See the movie, and you tell me, cause I have no idea. I like that, too. Something that gets left unopened and unanswered.

Three and a half partially dissolved sore covered hipsters

I haven't had this much fun being scared in years. It's a much more satisfying fright than The Ring, or The Eye. I only wish the countless other horror directors and writers would take a lesson from Eli Roth, who is destined to have an excellent career.

--B.C. Edwards
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[email protected] | September 2003 | Issue 42
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