Cabin Fever (2002)
By: J.R. McNamara on February 21, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Warner Home Video (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. 88 minutes
The Movie
Director: Eli Roth
Starring: Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern, Giuseppe Andrews, Robert Harris
Screenplay: Eli Roth
Country: USA
The tone of this film is set almost as soon as you put the disc into your DVD player. After the usual copyright warning, there is a director's warning, where Director Eli Roth himself warns the viewer of just how sick and disgusting the film is. This immediately gives you an idea of what you are in for.

Cabin Fever is not your average horror film, incorporating comedy, gore and horror into a seamless mix. During it's premiere at Toronto Film festival, Roth was actually worried that within the first 15 minutes people were walking out; what he did not realize was that due to not only its excellent production, but also the hype built up by the Ain't It Cool News website, that these were studio people leaving to get into the bidding for the film, which ended up being the highest grossing horror movie of 2003.

The story of Cabin Fever goes like so. After finishing college, five friends, the frustrated Paul (Rider Strong), the demure Karen (Jordan Ladd), intellectual Jeff (Joey Kern), his tarty yet sexy girlfriend, Marcy (Cerina Vincent) and dolt Bert (James DeBello) decide that a holiday in the woods would be a great way to unwind after the pressures of education and exams. Little do they know that there is something in the woods, something dangerous, and something that will eat away slowly at the five friends, until there is nothing left!

The cover immediately screams 'homage' as it mimics the poster art for the 70s flick House on the Edge of the Park, and the respect to the history of horror films, particulary the nasty ones, continues throughout. The real treat is for the horror fan, which with their previous knowledge will recognize Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Last house on the Left, amongst others. The film is fun to watch, enough boobies and blood to satisfy the gorehound, and enough of a story for those who do not care about such things.
Eli Roth, being the lover of film that he is, has obviously been very careful with every process this film has gone through. Cabin Fever gives us a beautifully clear 2.35:1 transfer. There seems to be no apparent imperfections in the picture at all.
The audio options have a choice of Dolby 5.1 or 2.0, but it is really a must for 5.1, if just for the subtlety of the sex scenes, and the absolutely terrible coughs.
Extra Features
There are some great special features on this disc, and many Easter Eggs, when searching the menus, keep you eyes peeled for squirrels that get highlighted with a rifle crosshairs. I have not listed the Easter eggs, as the search is half the fun.

Beneath the Skin: The Making of Cabin Fever (28 minutes 56 seconds) is a genuine movie making documentary with stories of almost missed screenings and filming fun. One of the more interesting docos I have seen, as it is not a big ego stroke for the director or stars or a fluff piece for people with an MTV mentality.

Popcorn Taxi Q and A with Eli Roth (35 minutes 39 seconds) is a great interview with the director. His comments on the state of the horror industry (circa 2003) are right on the button and will make you jump out of your chair and shout and agreement. He seems to be an amicable and amusing guy, who really enjoys his craft.

Audition Tape: Dennis 'Pancake Boy' (1 minute 46 second) is truly the most amazing extra ever on a DVD. Matthew Helm, the young black belt who played Dennis shows his Karate skills to the sound of the Electric Six's Gay Bar. Truly an amazing display and a mullet that make him look like a blonde young male Betty Page. I know that sounds wrong, but see it and you can't argue.

Rotten Fruit consists of three animated short about a fruit rock band. The titles of the shorts are Room Service (3 minutes 18 seconds), Snackster (3 minutes 39 seconds) and Battle of the Bands (5 minutes 27 seconds). These stop motion animations sit somewhere between South Park and Spinal Tap, with a bit of 80s English comedy thrown in. Stupid and funny are a combination everyone can enjoy.

There are two trailers on this disc, the Teaser (49 seconds) and the Theatrical (1 minute 34 seconds).

The audio commentary is by director Eli Roth, actresses Jordan Ladd and Cerina Vincent, and Eli's parents. A little piecemeal, and all the people are recorded separately and then edited in. The stuff with Roth's parents is done over the phone and is pretty funny. All in all, it's a pretty light commentary.
The Verdict
Cabin Fever kicks arse all the way through and is a funny and gory and horrifying watch (especially with the worldwide threat of Ebola, Bird flu and Meninga Coccil). This film is highly recommended for every one who likes to be entertained.
Movie Score
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