A group of college friends head off into the woods for a holiday in a remote cabin. They havean bloody encounter with a gruesomely sick stranger, and he passes his infection on to them. Oneby one, they fall ill, and their friendships are violently torn asunder as they uninfected try toquarantine, by any means necessary, the infected.
Riddled with references to other horror movies, mostly from the 70s (the theme song fromLast House on the Left keeps pla…ing), Cabin Fever is assured, gruesome fun. Ithas a few too many endings (none of which are surprises), but it makes up for this with its witand its unapologetic nastiness. There are some wonderfully nightmarish sequences here, and myhat is off to a film that is willing to take its tragic love story to the most appalling conclusionimaginable. Still, I can’t help but wish that we might yet see some new piece of nasty filmmakingthat doesn’t need to rely on older models.
The sound is so loud and creepy on the menu that a little disappointment sets in when theaudio isn’t quite at the same level on the feature itself. Still, the sound isn’t bad. The music isparticularly strong and atmospheric, with excellent placement of the “boo!” effects. There isn’t ahell of a lot by way of environmental effects, as they are low key and taking a back seat to themusic, but the forest sounds are there if you listen for them.
An excellent 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The colours are strong, as are the fleshtones and contrasts. The blacks are as deep as one would hope, and there is no bleaching of thenight scenes. The image is very sharp. If the picture is a little bit softer during the nigh scenes,the overall effect is damn close to what the theatrical experience of the film was.
This is a disc with attitude, signalled by that the menu (animated and scored on the mainpage and scene selection page) is built around the most squirm-inducing sequence of the film.There FIVE (count ‘em) FIVE commentaries. Writer/director Eli Roth is involved with all ofthem, claiming one for himself, and the pairing up with the Guys, the Girls, the Filmmakers, andRider Strong on the other tracks. With this kind of excess, you inevitably wind up hearing anumber of the same stories over and over again. The other features are considerably sillier. Thereare three episodes of “The Rotten Fruit” (claymation shorts by Roth featuring a rock band madeup of rotten fruit — think California Raisins meets South Park). The “Family Version” of themovie has all the unsuitable scenes removed, and so runs about a minute. “Chick-Vision” blacksout all the nasty bits. “Pancakes” features that weird Dennis kid doing a martial arts routine,scored to “Gay Bar.” And “Beneath the Skin” is a rather self-mocking behind-the-scenesfeaturette. Deeply weird. Selecting the Lions Gate logo gets you trailers for Cabin Fever,The Job and Serial Killing 101.
Nice to see a disc going for something different (even if there were a few questions I had thatare still unanswered). The movie itself is a solid little exercise in self-aware gore and is, alongwith 28 Days Later the best of the violent horror movies that roared into the theatres inthe summer of 2003.
Special Features List
- 5 Audio Commentaries
- “Family Version”
- “Beneath the Skin” Featurette
- “The Rotten Fruit” Shorts