I would like to start out with complete honesty. Seeing the trailer for this and Mr. Boy Meets World (Ryder Strong) as the main character did little to rush me into the local theater for an opening night viewing. In fact, the trailer did nothing but make me want to dismiss this as another mediocre spoiled college kid Slasher flick. It took me a couple of viewings to really appreciate this film for more than the dreaded “Six Pack.”
The story swirls around a group of five attractive college kids who have decided a little graduation get away would be just the ticket to ease their overworked minds. You will spend the next 90 or so minutes with some pretty stereotypical characters like Paul (Ryder Strong) who plays a shy kid who has had a crush on Karen (Jordan Ladd) since childhood. There is also Jeff (Joey Kern) and Marcy (Cerina Vincent) who play as resident “kids in heat.” And last but not least, we always need a jock or meathead to round out the cast, and that’s where Bert (James Debello) comes in.
The cast could not be anymore stereotypical unless you added “the token black guy” or the “bullied anti-social nerd.” Now, what kept my attention is the killer, which in this case is a flesh eating virus. Something about flesh eating viruses has always scared the living crap out of me. So yeah, I watched this with a bottle of Germ X hand sanitizer real close!
“Hey, you guys looking to party?”
This being Eli Roth’s first movie, I did not want to set my expectations too high because all too often I expect so much from a new writer/director and being let down is all I end up with. Right out of the gate I got an Evil Dead kinda vibe with the cabin and some kids heading off to have a good time. I also enjoyed the fact that the movie never sat down long enough to take itself too serious. A cracked joke here, racial slur there, all keeping the mood light enough to be entertaining even though people are dying left and right. A last plus are some real skin-crawling scenes ( I am referring directly to ones like the shower shaving scene and good ol’ Ryder getting more than he bargained for when trying to warm up his dream girl in the sack).
“Babe, I have no idea why her pants are off.”
I have a lot of respect for writer/directors going against the grain in horror. If you do not stick up for what you want, you will end up with another Scream, which is what this would have been if Eli had not stuck to his guns on the gore and adult subject matter. I also understand wanting to be in your flick and taking part in the acting process. Seeing both sides of the camera can be a god-send when it comes to fulfilling a vision. Still, there was no need at all for Grim, played by Eli Roth, to be in this film.
The part seemed forced and proved little to no point other than getting Mr. Roth onto another line in the credits. His acting as Grim was also very poor just like the rest of the cast. It is not hard to be a hippie pothead who is backpacking with his dog. I also wondered if this character was supposed to have stiff dialogue and poor character interaction. If so, it is not too hard to show that through a scene setting up this character as dumb, lame, silly or whatever else you like. This should have been scrapped to deal with the other obvious issues like back story, character development, etc,. Ok, enough about that rant and as Jay-Z said, “On to the next one.”
I think I got where he is headed with this movie right from the get go. We are expected to take in the relationship breakdowns and action/gore as the primary focus. The characters are so bland, overused and stereotypical that he had to have wanted you to pass them over when taking the whole picture in. It was not till the group started to turn on each other that you really saw some decent acting. Almost everything up to the point of Joey Kern’s character making a break for it with the beer (GENIUS!) was all too slow and predictable (basically the first 45 minutes).
This man knows what’s important in life
I am a movie-goer who likes to know what is what for whatever reason it has to be. So please at least provide a little more back story. Over all the movie was too short to really provide what they were hoping for, which was a solid throwback to movies like Evil Dead, Last House on the Left and countless other classics. It is so hard to give a sh*t about anyone when you have no idea what their intentions are or why they are doing what they are doing.
Case in point: When the rednecks are alerted and have to come to the cabin to “erase the mistake” with the police. What the hell is the one redneck holding onto with dear life? Looked like a hippie stash box for drug paraphernalia to me, but we will never know because I did not see it opened, alluded to, or at all anymore after the initial shot. I am not asking for a story detailing the creation of the damn thing but we need a little more than nothing here. I felt this way at multiple times during the feature.
I also found it frustrating that so many little slip-ups made it into the final cut, like the vehicles being different from shot to shot and how the rims changed on the Blazer during the movie. Positions of people and objects in the scenes also change, like when Marcy and Paul are about to go at it and he goes from no watch to wearing one. The list of these goes on and on. I do not believe these really take away from the movie, but if you are a person who pays attention to sets and scenes they become all too obvious.
“Anyone have any damn idea what that box is for Otis be holding??!!?”
Overall this movie had a lot going for it in the way of humor, gore, and a slick presentation. The last thirty minutes is worth the price of admission. I really did enjoy the gritty feel and have recommended this flick countless times when someone asks about it. I feel it is a good attempt for Eli Roth, being his first movie and all. I would also like to applaud his sense to keep the H in horror by not letting the studios cut him back. He made the movie he wanted and in many ways it pays a perfect homage to the movies we all know and love.
*If you liked the first Cabin Fever please be warned the sequel is almost complete crap and easily could be a Six Pack + as Eli was not at the helm (cheap-ass cash-in on a name anyone?)*
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever someone dies from the dreaded flesh eating virus (watch this one, it’s tricky).
Pound a Shot: anytime alcohol is on screen.
Take a Drink: every time you cringe thinking about your own flesh rotting away.