Cabin Fever

Released: November 27 2003
Cast: Jordan Ladd, Rider Strong, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern, Arie Verveen, Joe Adams
Director: Eli Roth
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: MA 15+
Running Time: 92 Minutes

Catch it

As a last hurrah after college, friends Jeff, Karen, Paul, Marcy and Bert embark on a vacation deep into the mountains. With the top down and the music up, they drive to a remote cabin to enjoy their last days of decadence before entering the working world. Then somebody gets sick.

Karen's skin starts to bubble and burn as something grows inside her, tunneling beneath her flesh. The group is so repulsed, shocked and sickened watching their friend deteriorate before their eyes; they lock her in a shed to avoid infection. As they debate about how to save her, they look at one another and realize that any one of them could also have it. What soon began as a struggle against the disease turns into a battle against friends, as the fear of contagion drives them to turn on each other. The kids confront the terror of having to kill anyone who comes near them, even if it's their closest friend. The survivors have to find help before they're all killed by the virus, or by the local lynch mob out to destroy anyone who may have come in contact with it.

Based on skin-curdling tales of the real life flesh eating virus (as well as a real-life experience by writer-director-producer Eli Roth), CABIN FEVER blends the elements of classic horror films of the 70's and 80's with modern day medical terror. Necrotising Fasciitis, the flesh eating strep, devours over 1500 victims annually in the United States alone, releasing toxins in the body that can eat through a human in a matter of hours...

My Verdict:
Cabin Fever is a great horror movie. It is part comedy, which is hard to accept when you realise that the flesh-eating condition is a real medical condition and not some fantasy created to delight the movie public. The special effects used to depict the necrotising fasciitis are excellent and totally organic in origin, meaning there were no computer-generated effects used. While making the movie, people who had survived the condition were consulted to make sure that the effects were in fact totally accurate. Also, during shooting, several people in North Carolina contracted the virus, and it was not until the story ran on the local news that some of the crew believed this was a real virus. It is this aspect where the reality of the horror strikes home.

This young group of people could be any group any where in the world who by sheer bad luck, contract the disease and being caring sharing people, pass it on to each other. It is an extremely contagious condition. This creates problems for the group who realise that they can catch it so easily, and watch how quickly it takes over the body. They are torn between wanting to help each other yet not help too much and catch the disease. They thought they were on an innocent end-of-school holiday but you know something horrible is going to happen to the group. Knowing this doesn't make the film any less enjoyable.

Cabin Fever has plenty of sick laughs and is also a tense thriller and there are enough of each not to over-ride each other. Peter Jackson, the director of the 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy says "Bloody, and I mean bloody, fantastic. I loved it".

I did too.

- Christina Bruce


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