Cabin Fever (2016) [REVIEW]

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Horror fans are obviously no strangers to remake, and with everyone announcement, you’ll be inundated with the same comments online about something being “sacred” or whatever. It’s the same thing, every time, and the movie comes out anyway, so here’s a friendly reminder to shut the hell up and just wait and see how the movie turns out. The goal, or intended goal, is generally to reinterpret a classic, or take the core plot elements, and reinterpret them in some way, shape, or form. When news came that a remake of 2002’s Cabin Fever was on the way, the reaction was one of confusion. The strengths of the film come from the disgusting gore effects and the unique brand of Eli Roth’s humor, with the film being so absurd that it borders on parody, so any attempt to reinterpret the film seemed like a difficult task. Well, now having seen the film’s remake, I can tell you the task seemed difficult because it was, and this film was a complete failure at any attempt to do anything at all interesting with the concept.

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In the original, one character brings a BB gun. In the remake? He brings a fucking ASSAULT RIFLE. AND ACTS LIKE THAT’S A NORMAL THING TO BRING CAMPING WITH FRIENDS.

If you’ve seen the original Cabin Fever, this film has the exact same plot. Like, it’s basically a word-for-word, shot-for-shot remake. However, if you haven’t seen it, I’ll try to describe what happens. Five coeds head to a remote cabin to celebrate finals being over or something, but some strange events start taking place. One guy encounters a man covered in blood, boils, and blisters and, in shock, shoots the man and leaves him for dead. After that man finds the cabin and tries to get help from the coeds, they instead set him on fire. Shortly after, one of the girls sees similar symptoms that the man demonstrated, but the remoteness of the vacation makes it difficult to find help. From there, it’s a race against time to try to find help and not catch whatever strange disease the infected have developed, with all the characters achieving varying degrees of success.

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Remember how, in the original, the scene with Cerina Vincent shaving her legs was, like, the grossest fucking thing ever? Well, this version does nothing at all to up the stakes and somehow makes it more dull. Great job, guys!

Right from the opening sequences, I knew this movie was going to piss me off. One of the first shots shows the coeds’ SUV driving through the woods in an overhead shot, accompanied by the same exact music from the almost exact same shot from The Shining. Some people might think, “Whoa! Cool! A reference to The Shining!” it stood out to me as something shoehorned in with the explicit intent of getting that reaction. Even worse, The Shining is a film that explores the concept of “cabin fever” and the effects of being isolated indoors can have on someone, knowing that this film wouldn’t pursue those themes just irritated me. From that opening shot, things only got…well, not worse, but continued to plateau as a putrid pile of garbage.

cabin-fever-remake-2016-pancakes-kid

OH MY GOD, and remember how in the original movie, there was a weird, platinum blonde-haired kid who did ninja moves and yelled about pancakes? In the remake, he was replaced by a “creepy” kid in the bunny mask, removing any reason for the character to exist in the first place.

As previously mentioned, the strengths of the original film came from how absurd it is, both in the horrific gore and the ridiculously over-the-top characterizations of college kids. Despite almost the exact same dialogue, the characters felt much more subdued, causing you to just get bored with them and not even care enough whether they lived or died. In the original, the characters were so irritating that you just couldn’t wait to see their demises, but this film can’t even muster that. The effects are fine, and mostly practical, but there aren’t really any gags that give new interpretations on what we saw in the original. However, one sequence shows a character begging to be killed, and another character attempts to oblige them, but carries out the scene much longer than in the original film, showing the character fail at killing the victim and setting them on fire. WHY WOULD SETTING SOMEONE ON FIRE BE A BACKUP PLAN!? That is probably one of the most painful deaths someone could experience and they also aren’t guaranteed to die. The scene felt like the filmmakers said, “Yeah dude, we’ll really take it up a notch by setting them on FIRE!” and no one was around to say, “Why they fuck would you do that?”

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Oh Jesus, that’s right, they also gender swapped Winston but gave her the same dialogue, which makes it all the less funny that she was saying flirty things and calling one guy the “Party Man.” Goddammit.

The original Cabin Fever might not be for everyone, as it’s hardly the first film to combine gore and humor in this way, but it holds a special place in my heart as one of the first “independent” horror movies I sought out on my own without someone having to show it to me. The thing is, no one really remembers the movie for how horrifying it was, so the pitch of “What if we remake this movie, but we are SERIOUS about it?!” would be like saying, “What if we do a remake of Step Brothers, but take out the jokes?!” It just doesn’t make sense! They completely removed all the charm that the original held and turned it into yet another completely bland horror movie with nothing going for it other than “cool gore, bro.”

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