Cabin Fever (2002)

2.0 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 2/10
Visuals: 6/10

Some decent visuals

Horrible story and acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Cabin Fever

Studio:  Black Sky Entertainment

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  September 14, 2002 (Toronto International Film Festival)/September 12, 2003 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R


I’m starting to hate camping…

Jeff (Joey Kern), Marcy (Cerina Vincent), Paul (Rider Strong), Karen (Jordan Ladd), and Bert (James DeBello) are kids out for a fun weekend at an isolated cabin in the woods.  When they run into a hermit (Arie Verveen) who seems to be infected with a strange disease, the encounter turns deadly.  Now, the infection is spreading and no one is safe…survival is doubtful.

Directed by Eli Roth, Cabin Fever made the festival circuit before getting a major release.  The low budget film was a response to the popularity of teen horror like Scream.  The movie was met with a strong box office and mixed reviews from critics.


Best advertisement for changing your razors often

I was pretty excited when I heard about Cabin Fever.  I liked Scream when it was released but was growing tired of the “smart/funny” horror that came after it.  I wanted some old style horror that was scary…unfortunately, Cabin Fever really didn’t meet any of my hopes.

The story for Cabin Fever is nonexistent.  Roth seems to be attempting to pull off a bit of an Evil Dead vibe with the movie by combining horror with some laughs, but it never gets the tone right.  A prime example is the classic Pancakes scene which is funny but for all the wrong reasons or the really forced joke involving the man at the store and his shotgun for the “N-Words”.  It just isn’t funny or ironic and seems like a twelve-year-old wrote it.


Going to the dentist got a whole lot easier

In addition to this, the story doesn’t have much of a central theme.  The characters can’t decide if they want to leave, look for help, or just kill everyone…if the disease was something like The Crazies, it would work, but it appears to just mostly rot you (which doesn’t make for a scary monster).  It really feels like a non-threat, threat throughout the movie and there is no sense of urgency (which is ironic since it involves contagion).

The cast is pretty awful as well.  The anchor actor is Rider Strong of Boy Meets World who becomes the star of the ensemble cast.  I find James DeBello particularly annoying as Bert and find him as a low-rent Seth Rogen who is pretty annoying himself.  Jordan Ladd finds a bit of a horror niche with this film and has gone on to other horror films since Cabin Fever.  I do have to say Cerina Vincent and her gross leg shaving scene does make you squirm a bit.


This Children of the Damned pancake loving freak is scarier than most of the movie

I will give Cabin Fever this…it does look pretty good for the budget.  You can tell Roth does love horror films, and I do like that from a horror director.  There is imagery taken from movies like The Texas Chain-Saw Massacre and The Evil Dead that is blended into the story nicely…but it doesn’t help the fact that the story sucks.

Cabin Fever is a completely blown opportunity by a director who seems to know horror but struggles with executing it.  I find the movie rather boring and uninspired in its production which is very disappointing considering its potential.  Cabin Fever was followed in 2009 by Cabin Fever 2:  Spring Fever.

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Related Links:

Cabin Fever 2:  Spring Fever (2009)

Cabin Fever:  Patient Zero (2014)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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