Rider Strong as Paul
Jordan Ladd as Karen
James DeBello as Bert Cerina
Vincent as Marcy
Joey Kern as Jeff
First, Evil Dead : A pack of college-aged kids decide that a great idea for a vacation, presumably spring break, is to rent a cabin in the middle of the woods with no telephone or any other form of communication. Heck, theCabin Fever crew even has to cross water to get to their destination (not as dramatic as the rickety bridge crossed by Ash and friends inEvil Dead, but water nonetheless). The Cabin Fever youngsters vary a bit from their Evil Dead counterparts, but not much: There is the sex-crazed couple, a romantic couple, and a “third wheel” that is a bit insane. They come to the cabin “to party”, as described by the VERY weird deputy sheriff (played by Giuseppe Andrews).
It is at this stage that Cabin Fever begins to seem more like Stephen King’s The Stand .
A strange disease begins to spread to each of our young heroes. What begins as a freakish encounter with a local hermit who looks a bit like his skin is peeling off (they, of course, light him on fire for trying to steal their truck…who wouldn’t?) develops into a water supply tainted with flesh-eating bacteria that begins dissolving our heroes one by one.
Just as in The Stand this strange disease relentlessly turns everything it touches to a bubbling festering mess. Then we see evidence of zombie movies at this point.
Okay, for a zombie to actually BE a zombie it must be dead, and the disease-ridden characters inCabin Fever aren’t actually dead – but they do advance on horrified onlookers with outstretched hands coughing blood wherever they look. Seems pretty zombie-like to me.
Add a killer dog, inbred locals killing hogs while kicking and screaming and a strange mute lad that bites people’s hands and does spontaneous karate kicks and you’ve got Cabin Fever. I guess it’s pretty dumb, really. But it’s fun and contains the core elements necessary to be counted among the BEST horror movies! There is great use of foreshadowing so that you are climbing out of your seat from the mere anticipation of something gross. The effects are good and the suggestion of global disaster satisfying.
There are several unanswered questions in Cabin Fever. The one that really kills me is – what was in the box!!! When the inbred family decides to do something about these “medaling kids” the obligatory big dumb son says something about “getting the kit”. He proceeds to carry a small box around as the college kids are hunted. As the tables turn and death looms on the inbred family, the big dumb one fumbles to open the precious box but never gets the chance. We never get to see what’s in the stupid box. That makes me mad.
Overall, fine cinema Cabin Fever is not. Still, it is a fun movie that I will watch again. There is imagination, suspense, good gore and reminders of some of my other favorite movies – all wrapped in one!