Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jordan Ladd, Rider Strong, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent
Written by: Eli Roth, Randy Pearlstein
Directed by: Eli Roth
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and gore, sexuality, language and brief drug use
Running Time: 93
Date: 09/14/2002

Cabin Fever (2003)

2 Stars (out of 4)

'Fever' Glitch

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Back in 1961, audiences and critics celebrated West Side Story as a"musical for people who don't like musicals." It's really such a strangething to say, but perhaps not so strange; I like musicals and I hate"West Side Story."

Now the same thing is happening to horror films. Certain horror films have earned an enormous amount of buzz lately by deriving material from past horror films. Since they're making some kind of "comment," they somehow become post-modern. They become horror films for people who don't like horror films.

28 Days Later was one example, and the new Cabin Fever is the latest. Anyone worth their salt can see Sam Raimi's great Evil Dead films as the main source of inspiration here. And yet, somehow, industry types who have never heard of Evil Dead II are singing the praises of this half-witted knock-off.

In Cabin Fever, a group of brain-dead teens hike up into the mountains for a party weekend in a rented cabin. The girls flaunt their gorgeous bodies and the boys drink some beer. Before they know it a creeping terror attacks them -- not zombies or werewolves -- but some kind of skin disease.

If this were a David Cronenberg movie, the disease would have some fabulously interesting origin and would somehow be connected to real life. But Roth simply uses it the way any other horror film uses a killer beastie. It comes from nowhere, attacks and does not relent.

From there, we merely count down to the last man standing, followed by the obligatory "shock" ending.

What's really irksome is that much better, more interesting horror films have been lately swept into the closet in favor of these feeble copies. Why hasn't Lucky McKee's great, creepy May been released, and why did Glen Morgan's remake of Willard disappear from theaters so quickly?

Are we really so scared of being scared?

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