'Cabin Fever: Patient Zero': Film Review

Courtesy of Image Entertainment
The makeup designers are the true stars of this little-known franchise.

The deadly, flesh-eating virus returns in this third entry in the horror series.

Here's a friendly word of warning: A certain sexual practice will never be the same after watching Cabin Fever: Patient Zero.

Yes, continuing the tradition of horror filmmakers' apparent joy for making even the most pleasurable human activities potentially terrifying — think showering after Psycho or taking a dip in the ocean after Jaws — the makers of this third entry in the franchise whose original installment was directed by Eli Roth have devised a truly horrific gross-out sequence that's guaranteed to make you think twice before doing the deed. Thanks a lot, guys.

And by the way, if you already knew that there have been two Cabin Fever movies — the second was 2009's Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, directed by Ti West — you probably need to get more fresh air and exercise.

In any case, this edition of the series whose only primary continuing character is a deadly, flesh-eating virus is set in the Dominican Republic, where several young people have gathered to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of their friend Marcus (Mitch Ryan). The group — also comprising Marcus' brother Josh (Brando Eaton), his friend Dobbs (Ryan Donowho) and Josh's girlfriend Penny (Jillian Murray), who has a history with Marcus — charter a boat to take them to a deserted island for a bachelor party.

Trouble is the island isn't deserted, but rather the site of a secret medical laboratory where Porter (Sean Astin), the Patient Zero of the title, is being held against his will by an unscrupulous doctor (Currie Graham) and his bevy of sexy lab assistants. It seems that Porter is an immune carrier of the virus that for everyone else results in skin falling off bones and power-vomiting blood and internal organs.

After an ill-timed dip in the ocean, Josh and Penny wind up infected, although they don't realize it until the aforementioned sex scene. After that, all hell breaks loose, as the group lands on the island and comes into contact with numerous sufferers of the virus, offering plenty of opportunities for the crack makeup team to show what they can do. Among the highlights of their work is a catfight between two unfortunate female victims who look like they've just stepped out of Bodies: The Exhibition.

Otherwise, the film directed by Kaare Andrews is generic B-level horror marked by numerous dull patches, long stretches of expository dialogue and, save for Astin's admirably intense turn, uninspired performances.

Apparently a fourth installment, Cabin Fever: Outbreak, is already in the works. Talk about a disease not having a cure.

Production: Film002, Indomina Group
Cast: Sean Astin, Currie Graham, Ryan Donowho, Brando Eaton, Jillian Murray, Mitch Ryan, Solly Duran, Lydia Hearst
Director: Kaare Andrews
Screenwriter: Jake Wade Wall
Producers: Evan Astrowsky, Jaime Pina
Executive producer: Jasbinder Singh Mann
Director of photography: Norm Li
Editor: Michael P. Mason
Production designer: Linda Burton
Costume designer: Gina Terc
Composer: Kevin Riepl
No rating, 91 min.