The idea of remaking “Cabin Fever” is pretty ridiculous. Eli Roth’s “Cabin Fever” was a gory puerile lark, but I didn’t see the need for a remake. If anything, it was a calling card for Mr. Roth. Not enough time passed between the original and it’s sequels for a new audience to re-discover it and I can’t imagine its profit projections were that compelling. Then I found out that the remake had one condition. It had to use the original script.
Now the concept of shooting an already produced script has some potential. It could give some breathing room for creative interpretation. With what was already accomplished, actors can challenge themselves to delve into uncharted territory and the director can create a totally different atmosphere. This could be an endearing experiment in story telling that could open doors to all sorts of future projects. Can you imagine if Nicolas Winding Refn directed the “No Country For Old Men” script? That, or they can pretty much copy and paste the original movie for no reason. Wait…they did that…why?
Anyway, “Cabin Fever” follows a group of early twenty-somethings heading to a cabin to drink themselves stupid. Little do they know, a flesh eating virus has contaminated the water supply. So after a few sexy hijinks and a spooky story around a campfire, the group confronts the virus. After a hermit with decomposing skin lunges at them for help, the group takes some drastic actions with some lighter fluid, an assault rifle, and an open flame and that ultimately leads to a dead hermit, a destroyed car, and moral quandaries.
At first, the movie saunters into “Shallow Grave’ territory. The group accidentally kills an innocent person and they argue on how to deal with the situation. The potential threat of a flesh eating virus leads them to justify some thin hypotheticals. Anyway, tensions are high as individuals start getting sick and the group eventaully divides.
The last two paragraphs could pretty much be written for the original “Cabin Fever.” The changes are so minute in this 2016 remake that the issues from the 2002 original are still present. The script kind of unravels to an intangible mess and there are goofy plot shifts that are crowbarred into existence. With the lack of a fresh identity or an attempt to improve, I’m not sure what warranted a remake. But here’s the deal, I kind of like the original “Cabin Fever.”
The 2002 “Cabin Fever” was a love letter to cabin-in-the-wood films like “Friday the 13th,” and “The Evil Dead.” So even though it didn’t reinvent the wheel, Roth’s execution was fuelled by love.* On top of Roth’s passion, it had an identity. The original “Cabin Fever” made an impression because it was exceedingly gory, unapologetic in its depravity, and really fucking weird. I haven’t seen the movie since it came out, but I could go up to the person I saw it with (Jon Cranmer), scream “pancakes,” and he’d scream it right back.
All in all, I can honestly not recommend 2016’s “Cabin Fever” to anyone. Even if you’re a pompous teenager that hates old movies, the original’s not dated enough for me to consider the newer model. I guess if you’re curious to see a misfired experiment in storytelling? I found the case study kind of interesting, but I kind of had to synthesize that interest. This is insane. How’s a film totally devoid of an audience? I don’t care if you’re making a schlocky slasher, fluffy romantic comedy, or ramble-y mumble core movie; just try to make it have a reason for being. You’ll at least get two stars.
- Spoilers: They skipped the goofy bottling-the-spring-water-for-mass-distribution joke for an accidental-bloody-Facebook-post joke.
- * That seems to be Eli Roth’s M.O. as “The Green Inferno” is his take on the Italian cannibal movies, “Knock Knock” is actually a remake of the 70’s movie “Death Game,” and “Hostel” exists for some reason. I also don’t like them.
- Sorry to keep referring to the original.