Review: CABIN FEVER (2016){0}

Cabin Fever: now you can catch it twice

Remakes. We love to hate them, except when a new one happens to be a good film, in which case we suspend our “all remakes suck!” position for at least a week. After that we go back to hating remakes, and here’s why: for every half-decent, solid, or excellent remake that comes down the pike, movie fans are subjected to at least a half-dozen that are lazy, tiresome, poorly-made films that exist solely because of name recognition, nostalgia value, and contractual obligations.

And then there are remakes that just make no sense whatsoever. Like this one: Cabin Fever (2016), which not only features the same plot, setting, and characters as the 2002 original, but also almost all of the Eli Roth/Randy Pearlstein screenplay. Why we need a remake of a 14-year-old movie is a minor mystery; why they decided to use the same script is something that simply boggles the mind.

That’s not a knock on the original Cabin Fever, which still holds up as a gruesome, raucous, enjoyably immature horror/comedy about five doomed idiots who hole up in a cabin and (eventually) get infected by a horrific skin disease. It just seems like a shady (and/or lazy) move to recycle the same screenplay, delete most of the humour, re-create the same old gore scenes, and ask horror fans to treat it like something special. It feels like director Travis N. Zariwny (aka ‘Travis Z’) was told that he had to work with the old screenplay, so his only way to forge a little new ground was to go “dark and serious” where the original went with “gruesome and wacky.” His efforts might have bore more fruit had he been allowed to monkey with the plot just a bit.

Frequently well-shot and (eventually) bursting with some impressively icky gore effects, Cabin Fever ’16 suffers from a perpetual sense of déjà vu. It’s not nearly enough that the humour has been toned down or that one key character has switched genders. The oddball humour is what kept the original movie afloat in between the scary bits; the remake is basically an hour of thinly-plotted wheel-spinning followed by some decent gore scenes that don’t exactly improve upon those found in the first film.

Despite a few creative touches here and there (love that drone-cam), there’s just not a whole lot here that’s all that memorable. This remake is virtually the same film as the original, only slower, drier, and not nearly as much fun.

– Scott Weinberg

CABIN FEVER is released in US theaters today. Catch the trailer here.