Who…who wanted this? The Cabin Fever remake is in the same vein as that Psycho remake they did in 1998, where it was shot for shot the same as the original movie, but with different actors. It was kind of fascinating to watch different actors tackle the parts, but the whole thing was ultimately quite pointless. The Cabin Fever remake is the same idea, though my memory of the original is hazy enough that I can’t say for certain if it’s shot for shot the same. It definitely follows all the same story beats, only this time with less convincing acting. So if you’ve always wanted to see Cabin Fever but worse, have I got a movie for you!
I remember thinking Cabin Fever was fine when I saw it in theatres. It had its moments, most of them due to the gore, but it wasn’t that impressive overall. I don’t think I have seen it since then so I will give the movie some credit for having stuck with me as well as it seemingly has. I remembered nearly every big moment before this remake was able to replicate them. I don’t think time has been very kind to Cabin Fever, or this remake is just that inferior, because none of it had the impact I remember it having initially. I was often bracing myself for a moment I remembered being truly disgusting, only to react every time with a shrug and a “Huh. I remember that being way worse.” It makes the remake that much more baffling.
That’s the same point I’m going to keep coming back to for this review – seriously, who in the hell was this movie for? Was there an audience out there saying “God I would love to watch/re-watch Cabin Fever but not that Eli Roth one! Why can’t someone make almost the exact same movie again so I can watch that version?!” Though to be fair, I also would have been skeptical of a remake that changed things up since I can’t imagine that would be in high demand either. But a complete replica of the first? Why? WHY!?
Right the plot. I mean do I really even have to recite it? A group of friends, two couples and a guy who I guess is supposed to be the comedy relief but refuses to say or do anything remotely funny, head up to a cabin for a weekend of booze and sex. They encounter the usual woodsy folk along the way and are the typical unlikeable asshole characters we’ve now come to expect from an Eli Roth movie. Once they arrive at the cabin, it doesn’t take long (except no…it actually does take quite a while) for a virus in the water to start infecting the group, causing their skin to melt off and all sorts of gross stuff to appear all over their bodies. Then a whole bunch of random and stupid stuff happens, all of which you’ve already seen if you ever watched the 2003 version.
Actually there is one scene missing here, and it’s a bizarre omission. The one part of the original I’ll never forget is when the kid on the porch starts yelling “pancakes!” and doing a bunch of slow motion kicks and shit before biting the guy from Detroit Rock City on the hand. It was so strange that it stuck with me all these years and I remember it clearly to this day. They don’t do that here. A kid does yell pancakes and bite a guy, but he doesn’t do any strange martial arts movie. Why would you replicate everything but the most memorable bit?! They weren’t shy to ape everything else so I don’t get why this bit didn’t make the cut.
If anything, all of it made me realize that I don’t really like the original Cabin Fever all that much either. There’s not really a likable character to get attached to in the core group, all of the random things that happen are usually more dumb than enjoyable, the deputy who likes to party character (now a woman instead of the other guy from Detroit Rock City) is as annoying here as ever, the movie tends to lurch on with no real purpose for much of the time, etc. I found the whole thing to be a slog and even the gore effects couldn’t save it since I always knew exactly what the big gross bit was going to be in every scene.
I don’t need to reiterate my main point again here, you know exactly my issue with this movie. Its existence is completely puzzling and the fact that Eli Roth seems to have been an active participant makes it all the more confounding. I can understand if he birthed this project to correct what he viewed were mistakes with the original movie, but of course almost nothing here has been changed so that doesn’t appear to be the case. Who knows? What I know, is that there is absolutely no reason to ever watch this movie.