Review: Cabin Fever (2016) is Uninspired and Tedious

Cabin Fever catches up with a group of friends that rent a cabin in the woods for a wilderness getaway. Shortly after the fivesome arrives at their destination, they begin to notice strange goings on. Members of the group begin to come down with a strange skin condition that starts to spread like wildfire.

I tried to go into this one with an open mind. And I did. I reserved judgment until I had watched the film but I was terribly disappointed with the finished product. I found it to be tiresome and ultimately pointless.

The reimagining works from the same script as the original but it has been updated to bring the film up to date and to reflect director Travis Zariwny’s vision. Unfortunately, Zariwny fails to make his mark and the project comes off as entirely uninspired and tedious.

Cabin FeverOne of the things about this reimagining that drove me crazy is that the dialogue and events are changed up just enough to make things frustrating. It’s not a carbon copy of the original but the humor that made Eli Roth’s original enjoyable has been replaced with a total lack thereof. This redux attempts to be scary where its predecessor was silly but the effect is a film that always seems to be taking itself too seriously. And what’s worse, if you have seen the original, you always know exactly what is coming next. There are really no surprises.

My favorite part about the original is that it (mostly successfully) blends horror and comedy. But there is no comedy to be had here. I appreciate what Travis Zariwny was trying to do (update the film for a new generation of horror fans) but not only is it too soon to do that, the film really didn’t need to be updated, nor did it benefit from any of the changes that were made.

The remake stars Gage Golightly (Teen Wolf), Samuel Davis (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series), Dustin Ingram (Paranormal Activity 3), Matthew Daddario (36 Saints) and Nadine Crocker (Deadgirl). The performances in the original were nothing exceptional but the acting here is a lot worse and the characters are almost impossible to warm up to. In Roth’s version, one character in particular was so reprehensible that the audience was waiting on pins and needles to see him killed off. But here, that character is only a fraction as abominable and that totally ruins the effect.

Cabin Fever Remake 2016I was sorely disappointed by the pointlessness of this exercise. This is easily one of the most unnecessary reimaginings I’ve seen and it does nearly nothing to justify its existence.

If you want to check this one out for yourself, it is scheduled to hit select theaters and on VOD February 12, 2016. However, watch at your own risk. I haven’t been this bored or frustrated with a film in a very long time and I expect that anyone who has seen the original film will have a similar experience.

WICKED RATING: 1 Stars (1 / 10)

Director(s): Travis Zariwny
Writer(s): Eli Roth, Randy Pearlstein
Stars: Gage Golightly, Samuel Davis, Dustin Ingram, Matthew Daddario, and Nadine Crocker
Release: February 12, 2016 (Limited theatrical and VOD)
Studio/ Production Co: IFC Midnight
Language: English
Length: 99 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Epidemic

  • ExoMummy

    Damn shame…I was really excited for this. I think it’s well filmed in terms of cinematography and editing, but I found the actors to be the biggest problem. They just weren’t as engaging as the ones in the original. Plus, it seemed like the director was trying to make it more realistic and less stylized like Roth’s, but he kept switching between the absurd and realism like he couldn’t decide which to use. You mentioned it wasn’t comical enough, but I’d say it had too many moments of ambiguous absurdity that I think were intended to be comical. Take the scene when Officer Winston (by the way, the director missed the whole idea behind the character) confronts Paul for the first time: If it was more based in realism, she would have questioned him about the blood stains on the car. It’s like the director wanted to retain some of the material that showed how dumb and ignorant and selfish the characters could be, but it just doesn’t work in a realistic setting. I would have rather have seen a straight dark adaptation based in reality. Some of the plot made no sense, especially the scenes with the country hicks. And the soundtrack wasn’t nearly as good as the original. Badalamenti gave it that Twin Peaks-esque vibe. Great review. You hit the nail on the head. However, we may be getting more…that after credits scene seemed to set up for a series. It reminded me of the after credits scene in The Green Inferno.

    • Thanks for reading! Glad you saw some of the same things I did!

      • ExoMummy

        No problem! I enjoy your work. Yeah, definitely disappointing. I just hope that some of the other remakes and reboots we’re getting like the Exorcist TV show and the upcoming Friday the 13th film are done with care. Fingers crossed right?

        • Thx a lot. I appreciate that! I agree. Definitely hope that the barrage of reboots headed for the small screen show a modicum of imagination and do something to justify their existence.