most horrifying aspect of Cabin Fever is the 94 minutes it steals from
With that thought in mind, I couldn't bear to squander more time
writing a review of this film; instead what follows is a letter to screenwriter/director
Eli Roth (if he stops making horror films altogether it'll be time well
Dear Mr. Roth:
If Cabin Fever could have
figured out exactly what kind of movie it wanted
to be from the beginning, it might
have come close to being marginally decent. You could have made it an inadequate horror
homage spoof in the tradition of Return of the Living Dead or Peter Jackson's
gore-packed, laugh-laden B-movie classic, Dead Alive. Instead, this film plods
along in a feeble attempt to take itself seriously—and then back-peddles toward humor
whenever little details like plot, dialogue, characterization, and action become
This painfully uninspired story (please note: this is a rather
generous use of the word "story") centers on five college age teens who rent a cabin in
the woods for a sex-packed, booze-fueled, drug-induced vacation—all the while unaware of
a flesh-eating virus that has contaminated the water supply. This was a good start, Eli,
with the makings of an Evil Dead homage, but from that point on, you should have
got help from a real screenwriter (like your friends from Troma, who wrote the fourth
Toxic Avenger film)—or at least a semi-intelligent monkey.
character and fodder are often synonymous in the horror genre, the audience usually has
at least one individual to identify with—otherwise they just don't care what happens.
Unfortunately, your "characters" have less personality than your set design: Generic Good
Boy (Rider Strong), Generic Good Girl (Jordan Ladd), Generic Party Moron (James DeBello),
Generic Bad Girl (Cerina Vincent), and Generic Annoying Guy (Joey Kern). American
Wedding (the third American Pie movie) had more characterization, and I’m
reasonably sure that a semi-intelligent monkey wrote that entire
After you have created a Generic Someone We Care About (Not
us a threat that’s semi-interesting. A flesh-eating virus that just
eats flesh is a good vehicle for special effects—but it’s not that entertaining to watch.
Unless you were trying to make a clever comment on the superficial aspects of our
self-absorbed culture—which is why everyone who witnesses the hideousness of the virus is
driven homicidal—in which case you need to learn the basics first. Because a metaphor is
only as good as its context.
In conclusion, for anyone who might have the
misfortune of seeing your movie, I offer the following instructions to maximize their
is the only enjoyable, entertaining moment of the movie.
- Go to menu options
- Click on chapter
- Watch strange, absurdly inserted Albino child do slow motion
while yelling, "Pancakes!"
- Repeat for next 94 minutes
In summary, Mr.
Roth, please quit your day job.