It’s not unfamiliar to run into absolutely unnecessary remakes of horror films, but the original source for this one is a case in which I’m especially skeptical. Unfortunately I don’t think I can say very much on the original film since surprisingly I have never seen it yet, but if there is something about myself that I should put out there, I’m not a fan of Eli Roth. My first assumption at least before coming into this remake of Cabin Fever was obviously not having seen the original, but on its own, this remake does very little in order to prove itself worthwhile. Eventually I’ll give the original Cabin Fever a shot, but the degree of laziness present in this remake is so blatant and glaring to the point that eye rolls are sure to come out. 2016 has proven itself an outstanding year for horror films, but this remake of Cabin Fever is quite evidently not an example of that.
The original Cabin Fever film was a film about a group of friends who spend time at an isolated cabin for a party, only to come into contact with some sort of virus that eats away one’s flesh. This remake at least seems not to be doing very much that is different with that sort of premise, but that soon becomes part of the problem. While I’m not against following beats of the original in order to create something recognizable inside of a new version, what I don’t like seeing is something that just never feels so much like its own take on the same story. It’s something that seems common for remakes of iconic titles, they never feel like they want to do much with material that has already been done better because they feel like they are so afraid to compromise. While I’ve not seen the original Cabin Fever, it’s already a bad sign that I can tell the clear lack of effort of standing out put into them.
While I may not be a fan of Eli Roth, what did get to me was how juvenile the humour of this remake is because I know for a fact that it would never be something that Roth would let himself sink down to. A good amount of the dialogue that occurs within thisCabin Fever remake primarily consists of references to video games or genitalia jokes, because that’s what I’m guessing is what would appeal to the lowest common denominator in this day and age. I can’t find myself letting it pass because given the tone thatCabin Fever wants to achieve, I can’t seem to find it mixing well in the slightest. For a film that can get down to the very grossest aspects when it comes to the horror elements of its own storyline, it feels so conflicted with whom exactly it wants to be for, as certain teens might catch onto references being made and then they’ll suddenly be alienated when the horror hits.
The horror is yet another aspect where Cabin Fever is failing miserably – as it never seems to blend in with the scenarios thanks to the way it is directed. You’ll get some relatively nice shots within the daytime, but then suddenly you’re going to get back to what’s supposed to be the scarier parts of the film and the sudden shift makes clear the film’s lack of knowledge about itself and what it wants to accomplish (as stated above, it fails). It seems as if it is only pieces together in order to have a beginning and an ending, but that’s really all it even has in order to set out for, because it’s just clear that the direction is so haphazard all throughout, creating a feeling of lifelessness and dullness that is only set to alienate viewers from what is going on the whole time.
Quite surprisingly, this remake of Cabin Fever actually isn’t completely terrible in all regard. The cinematography, if quite contradictory towards the film’s intended tone, actually looks nice then and there. The acting, for the most part, is actually rather bearable, even if the performances are still just as dull as the film itself. At the very least it feels like there’s effort being placed into these areas, even if there’s really not enough to lift everything up to heights which it wishes it could achieve. You’d think that given how lazily stitched together the whole film feels, everything else would have been affected drastically but thankfully that’s not the issue as there are some aspects that prevent it from being complete garbage all around, but it’s still not enough.
As a remake, it’s just a dull retelling of another story that is quite evidently afraid of doing much more. Unfortunately as much else, a good number of the terrible qualities shine so brightly as the biggest problem with Cabin Fever is just that all around, it’s a lazy effort. There’s nothing remotely harmful about this remake as quite surprisingly it was not nearly as terrible as I would have thought given the sheer ineptitude of the execution, but even with some redeeming qualities that are set to arise, there’s only one way to go about looking at Cabin Fever: it’s merely a film that exists, and just that, without much reason to. It’s just a film so full of nothing on many grounds.
Watch the trailer right here.
All images via IFC Films.
Directed by Travis Z
Screenplay by Eli Roth, Randy Pearlstein, from the 2002 film by Eli Roth
Produced by Evan Astrowsky, Christopher Lemole, Eli Roth, Tim Zajaris
Starring Samuel Davis, Gage Golightly, Matthew Daddario, Nadine Crocker, Dustin Ingram
Release Year: 2016
Running Time: 98 minutes