When film fans heard that a remake of Eli Roth’s 2002 horror Cabin Fever was on the horizon, it is safe to say that many were baffled. Roth’s original horror movie – which sees five young students blow off college work for a weekend of mischief in the woods – became one of the highest grossing films of the year, taking in almost $40 million at the box office. Subsequent hits like Hostel and Hostel: Part II coined Roth as one of the founding members of the Splat Pack – alongside Rob Zombie, James Wan et al – and was praised for his originality and homage of the exploitation sub- horror genre.
However, Roth never really hit the mark in the years following his initial success. It is reported that the writer, director and producer had originally hoped for a third sequel entitled Outbreak which was set to follow the events from Cabin Fever: Patient Zero. However, when pre-production plans fell through – one assumes from the lack of studio funding – a remake was instead formed. Imitation is vast from the get-go in this current remake of Cabin Fever, as the credit sequence sees a car driving a long and winding road as Hector Berlioz’s Dies Irae (formally known at opening theme from The Shining) is heard in the background. The occupants of the car discuss the weekend full of fun and frolics which is about to be had, unaware of the looming doom that set to come their way.
This scene arrives after a rushed opening sequence which sees a bumpkin-type calling for his dog named Pancakes who appears to be infected with a fast-killing disease; a disease which causes the dog to be eaten from the inside in a matter of seconds. Not only does the film feature an all-white cast but the cast itself is dwindling on the side of lacklustre as the typical long-haired, big-breasted females are equally coined the college sluts as their male opponents are formed as the conventional frat boys. One of the female characters, Marcy (Nadine Crocker), encounters in a rather graphic sex scene as soon as she enters the cabin; one executed as a montage, spurring the question: what purpose does this serve? Despite the speculation and hesitance that surrounds upcoming remakes, sequels and reboots, it is understood that a rejuvenated take on original characters, script and setting is to be executed through a newfound artistic approach – possibly introducing the remake to a newfound audience. However, when the film in question is only fourteen years old, a newfound audience seems a few decades shy of fitting the criteria.
Secondly, when the reboot bodes the exact same script as the original, in the exact same setting and exact same language, the controversial question arises again: what purpose does this serve? The film is almost a shot-for-shot, word-for-word imitation of Roth’s 2002 release with scenes – including the infamous ‘second base’ sequence and prolific leg- shaving scene – formed as exact replicas of its originals; only with less anticipation and more hostility. There are numerous problems circulating in Roth’s original Cabin Fever (if you know you’re about to die, why on earth would you shave your legs?) that, instead of solving, remain more potent and insulting having to witness them the second time around. If you’re looking to spur uncontrollable disdain, then Cabin Fever is the film for you; if not – to answer the persistent question – this film serves no purpose whatsoever.