Review: CABIN FEVER 3: PATIENT ZERO (2014){0}

Let’s just get it out of the way from the beginning: it’d be really hard to make a worse Cabin Fever (2002) sequel than Cabin Fever 2 (2009). Arguably the only weak movie in Ti West’s filmography (and he’s not a big fan of it himself), Cabin Fever 2 was the victim of endless studio tinkering, release delays, and really sloppy post-production decisions. The sequel has gone on to earn a small but vocal fanbase, however, and Eli Roth’s original squirm-fest continues to bring in new horror geeks all the time. So surely there’s some gas left in this franchise’s tank, right?

Shockingly… yes!

That’s not to say that the slow-starting, frequently predictable Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero is some sort of miniature classic, but if you liked Part 1 and you struggled through Part 2, you’ll certainly find a few meaty morsels of splatter-laden lunacy in Part 3. Plus it has some of those indie flick intangibles that actually help when the movie struggles in other departments. (Kudos to horror-lovin’ composer Kevin Riepl, for example, as well as DP Norman Li, and the make-up crew!)

As you should know by now, the Cabin Fever movies are about a horrific flesh-eating virus that is as expeditious as it is carnivorous. In other words, once you’re infected in a Cabin Fever movie, it won’t be long before you become a quivering mass of rotting flesh and lumpy sores that prays for the sweet release of a quick demise. Oh, and like its predecessors, Cabin Fever 3 is kind of funny. In a sick, gross, visually unpleasant way, but funny all the same.

Screenwriter Jake Wade Wall (Amusement) takes two familiar premises and smashes ‘em together. We start with the “main story.” Sean Astin is a grieving father who recently had his teenage son “melt in his arms,” but shows no symptoms of the virus itself. He’s a carrier! Fortunately he’s already locked up in an allegedly secure medical facility, which allows the movie to flash back to his son’s story, which is this: he and three pals have decided to have a bachelor party of sorts on a completely deserted island. And yes, the Cabin Fever bacteria is running rampant on this desolate little rock.

Director Kaare Andrews (The ABCs of Death) cuts back and forth between the Patient Zero plot and the Virus Island material in slick and well-paced fashion; again, nothing here is unique or revolutionary material but just when plot A starts to sag a little, we switch over to the back-story nastiness (the flick has some great gore) in plot B, and things get legitimately interesting once Cabin Fever 3 hits its third act.

Compared to Cabin Fever 2 or simply taken on its own indie/horror/sequel merits, Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero is a surprisingly amusing piece of sci-fi splatter cinema mixed with the world’s briefest, ickiest island bachelor party in history. Only time will tell if the reported Cabin Fever 4: Outbreak will come to fruition, but it’s nice to have a Part 3 that actually gets some stuff right.


Scott Weinberg

Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero is currently available to stream or download here (UK only)