Gore in the Woods: “Cabin Fever” Review

Eli Roth’s “Cabin Fever” starts as many hillbilly horror movies begin. A creepy redneck walking through the woods in a daze. While we watch this creepy man walking in the woods, we come upon a dog we believes to be sleeping. After poking it a few times, the man pulls the dog up and notices that its flesh is rotted, spurting blood on him in the process. We soon realize that this is NOT going to be like every other horror movie.

Five college friends, Jeff (Joey Kern), Marcy (Cerina Vincent), Paul (Rider Strong), Karen (Jordan Ladd) and Bert (James DeBello), have rented a cabin in the woods. While driving to it they stop at a local convenience store for food. Outside the store, Dennis (Matthew Helms), a mentally handicapped young boy, bites Paul on the hand. At the cabin, Jeff and Marcy have sex and Paul and Karen go swimming in the nearby lake. Bert goes hunting for squirrels in the woods with a BB gun, but accidentally shoots the man who discovered the rotting dog, mistaking him for a squirrel. The man’s face is badly rotted. Scared, Bert shoots at him again to repel him before running back to the cabin. Later, the friends hear a knocking at the door and discover it is the diseased man. Desperate for help, the hermit tries driving away in their car, but vomits blood inside it. After the man exits the car Paul sets the man on fire and he runs into the woods, dying in the lake.

A young deputy, Winston Olsen (a hilariously offensive Giuseppe Andrews), shows up at the cabin and tells Paul he will call a tow truck. Karen drinks a glass of water from the lake and begins feeling ill. That night she is quarantined in the tool shed once Paul discovers rotten spots on her thighs. Fearing that they will also become infected, the others argue about what they should do. The next day, Bert realizes that he is also infected with the virus, but does not tell the others. When Paul and Marcy insist on helping Karen, Jeff, wanting to avoid becoming infected, runs into the forest with the remaining beer, the only reliable untainted beverage available. Bert drives off to find a doctor. Is it too late for them?

“Cabin Fever” is a no-holds-bars white knuckle horror-comedy that is both scarier and funnier than 95% of the other crap out there. The setup is simple: Five teens decide to go camping out in the woods at an old cabin when, one-by-one, they begin to become the victims of a killer flesh eating virus. As one might expect, many characters are killed in an awesome over-the-top gory fashion and there is a solid amount of nudity for a 2003 horror flick. It can be argued that this movie is not for everyone but fans of 80’s gore films will be in gore heaven.

P.S. I’ve talked to many people who have said they didn’t care for this movie because it wasn’t scary. Sorry, wrong type of horror flick. Watch it expecting “Evil Dead” and you’ll be fine.