CABIN FEVER. 2002. DIRECTED BY ELI ROTH. STARRING RIDER STRONG AND JORDAN LADD. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
This is a horror film that relies more on gore and the ‘eeuw, that’s icky...!’ factor than actual build-up of atmosphere and tension, but if you like that kind of thing, then this is a good solid effort.
The plot is straightforward enough. Five good-looking, all-American young people fresh out of college- Paul, Jeff, Marcy, Karen and the joker, Bert- head off on holiday to a remote cabin in the woods.
Sexual tensions abound within the group and the five young men and women are really just hoping for a few days of booze and nookie away from the watchful eyes of teachers and parents. (Do people still say nookie…? It means shagging, by the way. Or don’t people say that anymore, either? Better be on the safe side and call it bonking…)
Practically the first thing they do when they arrive in the isolated woods is to unintentionally kill a poor local who’s covered all over in some kind of horrible skin disease. Yep, I sure do hate when that happens, don’t you…? Not unnaturally, this one action puts a dampener on the whole vacation.
Things take an even more sinister turn, however, when horny Paul sneaks into bed beside pretty blonde Karen and allows his naughty fingers to stray to her… ahem, shall we say, nether regions…?
To his horror, what he mistakes for nature’s own lubricant- snigger- turns out to be the nasty flesh-eating skin virus that’s been doing the rounds in their God-forsaken hillbilly-populated neck of the woods, no pun intended.
The freaked-out young folks put their sick and traumatised friend in the shed where she can’t infect the rest of them. Yes, I know, they’re all heart. Then they set to work trying to fix their busted van so that they can get the hell out of hillbilly-land and seek medical help. By now, there’s a rabid dog on the loose as well which hampers their efforts somewhat.
Pretty-boy Jeff hightails it into the woods away from his buddies so he won’t catch their cooties. His girlfriend Marcy consoles herself in bed with Paul, who’s only too glad to oblige a mate. They’re a pretty self-obsessed lot, this bunch. Then Karen discovers that she’s coming down with the virus as well and things just keep going downhill from there…
There are some genuinely disgusting scenes in the movie, if you’re into that kind of thing. Marcy in the bath with the leg-razor, for example, Paul in the shed with a dying Karen and poor infected Marcy running away from the rabid dog. Running away, but not quite making it…
There’s quite a bit of humour in the film as well. In some ways, in fact, it’s more of a comedy-horror than a really terrifying horror movie like, say, THE EXORCIST or whatever.
I found it a great watch, though, and it is surprisingly scary to be made to think about something as horrible as a flesh-eating virus attacking yourself and your friends. The fear and sense of isolation you’d feel would probably have to be experienced to be described, but I think the film managed to capture some of the terror pretty accurately.
It certainly gave me the shivers anyway, so in that respect, CABIN FEVER did a good job and I’d recommend it to horror fans who ‘dig’ their gore.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at: