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Is there a conspiracy among filmmakers to make me feel old? An inevitable by-product of living to middle age is that films you’ve seen are remade, and sometimes more than once. But usually their creators have the decency to wait at least a few decades, long enough for nostalgia or forgetfulness, or both, to kick in. Sometimes they even deliver a new spin on vintage material that makes it feel fresh. No such luck with the utterly pointless remake of Eli Roth’s 2002 cult favorite horror film, which, truth be told, wasn’t all that great in the first place. Travis Zariwny’s reboot of Cabin Fever is destined to become little more than an answer to a Trivial Pursuit question.
Release date: Feb 12, 2016
This version is so similar to the original that it uses essentially the same screenplay by Eli Roth (who also executive produced this one, and he’ll have to answer for it somewhere down the line) and Randy Pearlstein. Yes, the characters are different, although in both renditions they’re so forgettable that it hardly matters. But otherwise it’s virtually the same product scene by scene, although the publicity notes do point out one crucial difference: “What’s surprising are the ingenious new deaths, which offer a fresh spin on a horror-comedy milestone.”
Alrighty, then. If the prospect of experiencing “new deaths” excites you, by all means click on the VOD button to check this one out. (It’s playing in theaters, too, but who do they think they’re kidding?)
If your mind can stretch back 14 years, you’ll remember that the plot involves a quintet of college graduates who make the familiar horror film mistake of retreating for a weekend getaway in a remote cabin in the woods. Seriously, has that ever worked out for anybody?
After the requisite amount of flesh-baring sex, they find a bloody stranger at the front door who exposes them to a flesh-eating virus. Cue the ensuing violent mayhem, with plenty of gruesome skin-peeling and rabid infected dogs thrown into the mix. Oh, and a little boy with a nasty habit.
“What did I tell you about biting city folk?!” his redneck father shouts.
The young ensemble playing the victims, including the wonderfully named Gage Golightly, goes through their violent paces with admirable conviction. For some reason, director Zariwny takes a more serious approach, which removes whatever sick fun is inherent to the material. He also applies a thuddingly loud musical score that, if you’re watching at home, will require constant fiddling with the volume control.
Production companies: Dragonfly Entertainment, Contend/Armory Films, Pelican Point Media, Elevated
Distributor: IFC Midnight
Cast: Gage Golightly, Dustin Ingram, Nadine Crocker, Matthew Daddario, Samuel Davis
Director: Travis Zariwny
Screenwriters: Eli Roth, Randy Pearlstein
Producers: Evan Astrowsky, Christopher Lemole, Tim Zajaros
Executive producers: Eli Roth, Cassian Elwes, Jerry Fruchtman, Peter Fruchtman, Christopher Lemole
Director of photography: Gavin Kelly
Production designer: Melanie Rein
Editor: Kyle Tekiela
Composer: Kavin Riepl
Casting: Jory Weitz
No rating, 99 minutes
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