Even before James Wan showered us with gore in Saw, there was someone else on the scene that enjoyed nothing more than to drive up the sale of pants by horrifying the hell out of his audience. That man is none other than Eli “The Bear Jew” Roth, part of the much-feared Splat Pack.
In 2001, most of us had forgotten what horror movies were if it didn’t star a teen icon or a Ghostface mask, but Eli Roth single-handedly changed all that when Cabin Fever was released onto the world. Part hillbilly horror, part body horror and part b-grade horror, Cabin Fever was unlike any horror movie at its time, especially since it did not hold back when it came to nudity and gore. What is great about the film, though, is how fantastically it works as a whole. It found a new way to scare or horrify its audience around every corner and some scenes still manage to chill me to the bone just thinking about it.
After a bloody prologue, the films stars with the classic scenario – 5 college students head off to a remote cabin in the woods. I know, which college student in their right mind would ever consider doing that, right? Whatever the case, these kids start celebrating their spring break with the usual suspects: Sex, booze and drugs. It all goes horribly wrong very quickly though, as they start getting pestered by a sick old hermit and soon, much to their horror, they realize that they have contracted a horrifying flesh-eating disease. From there on out, the film goes from bad to worse as the disease starts ravaging their bodies, and the locals in the area, mostly hillbillies, are not much use at all. Throw a diseased dog and a crazy police officer into the mix, and it all blends into one surreal horror fest that begs to be watched over and over… from behind a blanket or fingers.
This all is quite a feat considering it was filmed for $1.5 million and has definitely earned its mantle of cult classic. It has even been praised by Quentin Tarantino, who took Roth under his wing, but unfortunately I have not enjoyed Roth’s later films (such as Hostel) as much as I did Cabin Fever. If you are a horror fan and you haven’t seen Cabin Fever, I think you will be pleasantly surprised… and incredibly horrified, as you can expect Evil Dead levels of gore.
Last Updated: August 23, 2013