One from the to watch pile…
Cabin Fever (2016)
Film: OK, so I just want to start this review by pointing out what my opinion of remakes is: I have no problem with them at all. I don’t necessarily get angry or upset when a remake is announced, and I don’t think the remake diminishes the original in the slightest, if anything, it’s sequels that commit that crime more than remakes. Sure a lot have been terrible, but that reflects a remakes misinterpretation of the original’s intent more than anything else, and somethings they can even be entertaining.
My final word on remakes is without them, we wouldn’t have John Carpenter’s The Thing, Chuck Russell’s The Blob, De Toth’s House of Wax, Oz’s Little Shop of Horrors or Croenenberg’s The Fly!
Sure, I get 2005’s House of Wax and 2004’s Flight of the Phoenix are good example against remakes, but again, they don’t actually diminish the originals.
For some reason though, the space between an original film and its remake seems to be getting shorter, and I’m not talking about the j-horror to English versions either. In 2002, Eli Roth released his first film called Cabin Fever, and it was a gem. For some reason though, 13 years later, Roth decided that he would produce a remake of it… Why?
I imagine money, but that would be cynical, so I honestly don’t know. Seriously, why would someone who is one of us (a horror fan) who made it to Hollywood, managed to squeezed tributes to his favourite films in a film he made, based on a personal experience want to allow something he created to be remade when it was good the way it was?
This remake is directed by Travis Zariwny from a script by Randy Pearlstein, who realistically just dropped the original script by Eli Roth into a mixmaster and regurgitated it into what must have been thought of as a hard-hitting remake. Fede Alvarez did the same thing with his Evil Dead remake, but for me, that was a successful attempt at ‘nasty-ing’ up something that had a sense of humour, whereas this fails.
Anyway, Cabin Fever tells of five friends, Karen (Gage Golightly), Jeff (Matthew Daddario), Paul (Samuel Davis), Marcy (Nadine Crocker) and Bert (Dustin Ingram) who decide to go on a trip into the woods to stay in a beautiful lakeside cabin. One night, their fun is interrupted by a woodsman who is seemingly infected with a disease that, of course, quickly spreads to the group… But can they survive?
The answer in this case is, who cares?
The original had a sense of humour to it that it gone from this version and even though Roth’s comedy may be, somewhat sophomoric at time, it did at least give this film an identity that is absent from this. Speaking of losing identity, the three male leads are horrible photocopies of a type and don’t have any real characterisation of their own. At a push I’d suggest the two women in the film were the same, but at least they could be identified by ‘the brunette one’ or ‘the blond one’, which is really their only difference and makes them Easy to tell apart, well, until the blonde cop turns up, who thankfully has a scar which means she looks different from the other one.
Which brings me to another weird point: the cop has been changed from the goofy guy, to a really attractive blonde, but have given her the same dialogue, which is delivered slowly and with menacing music, so her intentions are cloudy. Does she just want to party with the kids, or is she suggesting that she has other intentions?
There’s some terrible flaws in this film too, that the editors should have picked up on. The first sex scene, which is surprising hot initially, is reduced to being crappy once you notice that the guy has shorts on, which can be seen not once, but twice. Terrible, that sort of stuff takes me out of a film.
So why remake this film when it is so close to the original release? Who knows… But everyone: EVERYONE…. Crew, cast, viewer, we all wasted our time. If I am to shine any light onto it, it did have some nice gore, and the nipple-pierced nudity was a high point.
Format: This Australian Bluray release of Cabin Fever runs at 1 hour and 38 minutes and is presented is a crystal clear 2.40:1 image with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack which also kicks arse.
Extras: Not a damned thing… Not even scene selection. Nasty, lazy release. The angry-at-unnecessary-remakes-film-fan in me thinks that when you remake something, at the very least, you should have a small doco justifying or explaining why you think the film NEEDED a remake.
WISIA: I’ll probably just watch the original again.