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During college semester break, five young friends rent a cabin in the North Carolina woods. After a bizarre encounter with a redneck family who run a nearby general store, the party arrives at their isolated holiday destination. Terror strikes when a fatal, flesh-eating virus starts infecting first a stranger in the woods who comes for help, then the no longer happy cabin-mates. When Paul (Rider Strong) discovers the source of the virus, his appeals for help are dismissed by the young party-loving local deputy sheriff Deputy Winston (Giuseppe Andrews), forcing Paul to take desperate measures to save his remaining friends.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If you go down into the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise…. And it’s not teddy bears, pal, it’s a flesh eating virus. What’s worse, it’s kinda based on a real virus, one that had a go at the writer/director’s face some years ago (in Iceland, don’t worry). 

No creature feature, this, Cabin Fever is a sick-o, but writer director Eli Roth will smile when he reads that. He’s been sick-oh-panting since he was a kid, turned on to horror films like a vampire staring at a naked jugular. But none of that here, either, this is just one creepily invisible virus on the loose, and the fact we can see it’s breeding ground – in the local water supply – the fear factor is nicely set to MAX. Our imagination runs riot as we consider the implications. 

You won’t want to drink water, ever again. Determined to sidestep the fakery of Hollywood’s more recent teen horror films, Eli Roth has delivered a gen-u-eyn genre item that really wants to scare you and not slide past on a series of swaggering in-jokes. For the teen market that this is aimed at, it will seem as fresh as a blood-stained daisy, even if more mature and experienced filmgoers see it in a slightly different light. 

Stylishly shot in widescreen on a terrific location – not too obvious and totally credible – the film has enough characterisation to be taken seriously and enough gory stuff to belong to its genre. The humour is kept well in check, and all the technical crew have excelled themselves, while the cast can safely put Cabin Fever on their CVs. 

A strong tongue in chek ement infects the DVD, starting ith ELI Roth’s brif and funny intro. Then there is the gobsmacking karate audition tape from Matthw Helms who plays Pancake Boy…. And even the menu set up is a combo of dark humour and dark visuals. Blood spatters your screen as someone coughs…. That kinda thing.

I won’t spoil the surprise in store for you as you select the Making of doco featurette, but I do suggest you put all foodstuffs out of sight. It’s a half hour of gory fun, coupled with sick stuff.

Eli Roth, Jordan Ladd (who plays Karen) Cerina Vincent (who plays Marcy) and Roth’s parents provide the commentary. It’s very lively, frank, funny and occasionally even informative, but you should take a listen. You’ll learn why Jordan didn’t show her boobs. On screen.

Published March 18, 2004

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CAST: Jordan Ladd, Rider Strong, James DeBell, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern, Arie Verveen, Giuseppe Andrews


SCRIPT: Eli Roth, Randy Pearlstein

RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes

PRESENTATION: 2.35:1 Widescreen 16:9 Transfer; Languages: English 5.1 Dolby Surround & 2.0 Dolby Stereo

SPECIAL FEATURES: audio commentary, making of documentary; Matthew Helms’ Dennis “pancake boy” audition tape; Popcorn Taxi – filmmaker Q & A; Rotten Fruit (animated Shorts)

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: March 17, 2004

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