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:: Cabin Fever

If you’re so inclined you can count the movie homages, or less generously, rip offs, in Cabin Fever on two hands, and a couple of toes and, like “Undead”, the last low budget horror film that made a splash, Sam Raimi is top of the list.

A group of vacuous, pretty and randy college students head out to a cabin in the woods, their youthful invincibility soon crashing headlong into a killer virus that works something like Ebola on speed. One by one they become infected, and if that isn’t enough, the local country yokels have taken a disliking to them and are coming armed. The local police are only interested in partying and other holidaymakers are either nowhere to be found or just plain crazy.

Where the virus came from is never explained, but neither are some of the truly moronic actions of the stranded teenagers. You see a rancid dead body in the reservoir; the first thing you do is climb a railing and poke it with a stick, right? The victims are sometimes totally isolated, and sometimes within running distance of another holiday cabin where circumstances always conspire against them using the phone.

Eli Roth’s debut feature inspired a bidding war in the hopes that it would become the latest low budget blockbuster. There’s plenty of gore and some unexpected laughs, but it doesn’t stand up to “28 Days Later”, a film to which it bears a lot of resemblance. There are too many false notes and odd interludes. When you see Dennis, you’ll understand. The virus is unbeatable. There is nothing to be done once they have contracted it, so the suspense rests on how gory their deaths will get, and it clearly isn’t enough as the country yokels are roped in for some inexplicable ‘Deliverance’ moments.

The production is slick, the cinematography takes full advantage of the location, and the cast is more convincing than in Undead, even with unlikely names like Rider Strong. It won’t win any awards but Cabin Fever is clearly enjoying itself and if you disengage your brain for an hour and a half, you will too.