×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Cabin Fever’

This dud sets a new standard for the term 'pointless remake.'

With:
Nadine Crocker, Matthew Daddario, Samuel Davis, Gage Golightly, Dustin Ingram, Randy Schulman, Louise Linton.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3832096/

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the remake of “Cabin Fever” reps a particularly po-faced exercise in pointless puffery. Arriving just shy of 15 years after Eli Roth’s 2002 gorefest scared up enough admirers and box office to launch his career, it’s little surprise that Roth himself is the exec producer of this nearly beat-for-beat redo. Who else would feel as much passion for the middling material? And who better to ensure the copy does nothing to improve on the original? The silver lining of a day-and-date limited theatrical and VOD release is that there’s no chance this repurposed dud duplicates the original’s commercial performance.

Lack of originality feels like a fairly meaningless complaint when Roth’s film was derivative enough to begin with. The plot: Five interchangeably boring college grads set out for a remote cabin in the woods to chill out, smoke pot and have sex, and wind up paying with their lives. At the time, shortly after the twin successes of “The Sixth Sense” and “The Blair Witch Project,” Roth got some mileage out of hyping his work as a return to down-and-dirty exploitation-style horror. He may have been seen by some as a bold new voice in the genre, but time has not been terribly kind to Roth’s reputation.

And time certainly hasn’t done any favors for his “Cabin Fever” screenplay, co-written with Randy Pearlstein and resurrected here almost in its entirety. Slavishly unimaginative helmer Travis Z (it stands for Zariwny) makes a few tweaks — a smugly provocative racial epithet is excised, the gender of a key supporting player (sleazy Deputy Winston, played here by Louise Linton) is flipped, and the death of one female character is made even more grotesque and cruel (upping the already considerable misogyny quotient) — but to no meaningful end.

Otherwise the film is exactly the same as its predecessor, right down to the irritatingly contrived and purportedly humorous banter, cloying backwoods caricatures, and flesh-destroying illness spread by water (any similarities to Flint, Mich., are unintentional and best ignored). A better movie might conjure a disquieting atmosphere of dread as its clueless characters await their fates. All “Cabin Fever” conjures is a single question: Why? The answer never arrives.

No breakout stars emerged the first time around, and judging only by their work here, the remake’s ensemble appears headed for the same fate. Similarly, by making the deliberate choice to do nothing to distinguish his work from Roth’s, director Z stokes little confidence in his future projects. Especially if his next film is a remake of “Hostel.”

Film Review: 'Cabin Fever'

Reviewed online, Los Angeles, Feb. 11, 2016. Running time: 98 MIN.

Production: An IFC Midnight release of an Eli Roth presentation of a Dragonfly Entertainment production in association with Contend/Armory Films, Pelican Point Media and Elevated. Produced by Evan Astrowsky, Christopher Lemole, Tim Zajaros. Executive producers, Eli Roth, Cassian Elwes, Jerry Fruchtman, Peter Fruchtman. Co­-producers, Lauren Vilchik, Sam Froelich, Michael D. Jones. Co-­executive producers, Christopher J. Scott, John Molli, Ike Suri, Jaclyn Ann Suri, Craig Chapman, Robert Ogden Barnum.

Crew: Directed by Travis Z. Screenplay, Eli Roth, Randy Pearlstein, story by Roth. Camera (color, HD), Gavin Kelly; editor, Kyle Tekiela; music, Kevin Riepl; music supervisor, Ryan Gaines; production designer, Melanie Rein; costume designer, Marjorie Sortman; sound, Charlie James; sound designers, Christian Dwiggins, Chris Trent; re-recording mixer, Dwiggins; visual effects, Andrew Mitchell; assistant director, James Currier; casting, Jory Weitz.

With: Nadine Crocker, Matthew Daddario, Samuel Davis, Gage Golightly, Dustin Ingram, Randy Schulman, Louise Linton.

More Film

  • Carol Burnett

    Carol Burnett's Mother-Daughter Story 'Carrie and Me' in Development as a Movie

    Carol Burnett’s bestseller “Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story” is in the works as a movie at Focus Features with Burnett, Tina Fey, Eric Gurian, and Steven Rogers producing. Burnett will produce through her Mabel Cat Productions with Fey and Gurian under their production banner Little Stranger along with Rogers (“I, Tonya”). The sibling [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Plans for Agency Pact Expiration: 'There Will Be Difficult Moments'

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent members contingency plans for the possible expiration of its agency franchise agreement on April 7 — and admitted that it may be a rocky road. Members received the letter Tuesday from the guild’s negotiating committee as the WGA and agents were about the hold their seventh [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Entertainment One, Universal to Partner on Home Entertainment

    Entertainment One and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment have signed a multi-year, multi-territory distribution agreement. UPHE will serve as the home entertainment distributor of eOne’s offerings across both physical and digital formats. The pact covers film, television, and select family content and includes all sales, marketing, and distribution, spanning the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, Spain, Australia, [...]

  • Will Smith Jada Pinkett Smith

    AFI, Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation Launch Second Young Women in Film Intensive

    The AFI Conservatory and the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation have partnered to launch the second annual Young Women in Film Intensive. The AFI Campus in Los Angeles will host 45 high school girls for an eight-week filmmaking workshop, where students will receive mentorship from current fellows and working professional alumni of the AFI [...]

  • Paul Davidson

    The Orchard Head Content Executive Paul Davidson Steps Down

    At the finish line of its sale to 1091 Media, distributor the Orchard’s film and TV head Paul Davidson is parting ways with the company. In an amicable split, the creative executive addressed staff in person and in a company-wide memo on Tuesday in New York City to inform them of his decision. More Reviews [...]

  • Ava DuVernay Toby Emmerich Michael Douglas

    Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich, Michael Douglas to Speak at Produced By Conference

    Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich, and Michael Douglas will speak at the Producers Guild of America’s 11th Produced By Conference. The event will be held on June 8-9 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. More Reviews West End Review: 'Emilia' Film Review: Tim Burton's 'Dumbo' Other notable speakers include Netflix executive Cindy Holland; Blumhouse producer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content