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February 13, 2010

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever

2010, Dir. by Ti West/Alan Smithee.

Eli Roth's Cabin Fever is one of the most hotly debated horrors of the past decade, if not longer. I know many who claim it to be among the worst horror movies, or even worst movies, ever made. There are others, myself included, who thought it was a fun gorefest whose ridiculous plot and one-note characters were not worth getting our knickers in a twist over.

For those who fit that category, we're now treated to Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, the second straight movie I've reviewed that was delayed for a year plus. In this case, director Ti West shot the film in the spring of 2007, but Lionsgate held up the film up and ended up reworking most of the film to their liking. West requested to have his name removed from the film, but since he's not a member of the Director's Guild of America yet, his request was denied. The final product is finally dropped on DVD this week - coincidentally placed a couple of weeks behind West's break-out hit The House of the Devil.

Cabin Fever 2 picks up right where Roth left of in story, with the first film's lead character stumbling out of the water reservoir he fell into as the last film neared an end. As revealed there, the water is being used by a bottled water company, and an animated opening credits sequence shows us that the contaminated water is apparently directly headed to a local high school. And just in time for prom, no less!

What follows is your typical bloodbath. Literally. Gone are the awkward comedic touches of Roth's film (Sorry, there's no Dr. Mambo or "Pancakes!" screaming here), aside from the return of Giuseppe Andrews as the inept police deputy Winston. Without these hijinks around him Andrews' character doesn't have much place in the story, and it's likely that the edits added to the character not seeming at home in the film's plot.

Back to that bloodbath, we're introduced to the typical high school types we see in this movies, led by the smart and noble kid John, who's played by Noah Segan (also of last year's indie horror Deadgirl). Following tradition, John shoots the breeze with his dorky best friend Alex and pines over the girl next door Cassie who happens to be dating the school's biggest douche Marc as we wait for the decomposition to begin. It kicks in as the prom starts, and from there on out it's a skin-crawling gorefest.
The movie has a few things going in its favor, specifically well-designed gore (a late film dismemberment is incredibly well-done), some solid cinematography (especially in the scenes involving what I assume is a government clean-up crew), and Segan's fine performance in the lead. He's a very likable young actor who seems to have his head on straight - pointing out in the special features of the disc that the film is "so gory that it's funny, except for when it's so gory that you want to throw up." And really, when it goes to full frontal pus-producing nudity, I did want to throw up.

There lies the biggest problem with Cabin Fever 2, as it's clear the primary goal of the film was to showcase gore and not provide much else. I'm a huge fan of West's other films, and was excited to see him get this shot at something mainstream, but it's clear that illogical studio expectations derailed the man long before the movie hit screens. I doubt there'll be a big enough cult following to someday get us a recut version with West's actual vision, because the final product of Cabin Fever 2 is little more than an attempt to capitalize on a marginally respected film's following (and perhaps Roth's newfound stardom after Inglourious Basterds - congrats on making Jeopardy, Eli) that lacks any depth in plot or originality in vision. If you're desperate to see blood, Cabin Fever 2 will fill that need, but for actual cinema there are three excellent Ti West films (The Roost, Trigger Man, The House of the Devil) that you should check out anyway.

1 comment:

Carl (ILHM) said...

I was turned off immediately by the trailer on Saw 6, cant say Im interested enough to rent it, but if the wife mistakingly adds it to the que I will give it a go