MAY 13 DIRECTOR CAST
TBC 99 MINS. ORROR FANS CAN be a baffling bunch sometimes, often screaming bloody murder when a genre classic gets remade, forgetting that some of their favourite modern horror films (The Thing, The Fly, The Ring) are remakes. In the case of the outcry over the Cabin Fever update, however, it’s unclear whether the principal objection is that Eli Roth’s 2002 film was an untouchable classic, or that 14 years simply isn’t a sufficient gap to warrant a redo. Unless it’s a foreign-language film, in which case it’s okay.
In Hollywood terms, the Cabin Fever remake actually makes sense, given that a) the teenagers it’s aimed at were toddlers when the original came out, and b) it failed to launch a successful franchise, despite spawning two sequels (the second of which was better than the first, all but disowned by its director Ti West). Yet there’s an obvious flaw: in most cases — the recent Martyrs remake comes to mind — one would trot out the old, “Skip the crappy remake, and check out the original.” But, let’s be honest, the original Cabin Fever’s acclaim had more to do with the moribund state of American horror at the time of its release than its inherent brilliance. It’s good, goopy fun, but it’s no Evil Dead, much as Roth tried to channel the spirit of Sam Raimi’s seminal indie horror.
Directed by Travis Z (for Zariwny) from a script that’s nearly a scene-byscene (and sometimes word-for-word) copy of the original, the shiny new 2016 version has some unimaginatively updated characters (if one can call such one-dimensional talking props “characters”) and demonstrably nastier effects, the latter to curiously reductive effect. Absent is Roth’s tongue-in-cheek (or tongue-through-cheek) sensibility, the most memorable set pieces— the legshaving scene, and the, ahem, ‘sliding into third base’ shenanigans — coming off as merely gross, rather than gross-out fun.
As Cabin Fever drags humourlessly toward its franchise-bait ending, the growing sense of dread it fosters has less to do with the intended horror of watching your BFFS become infected by a deadly virus, than the creeping suspicion that nobody’s heart is really in it. DAVID HUGHES
MAY 27 DIRECTOR CAST
PG 90 MINS.
PG 95 MINS.
Had they learnt nothing from Sightseers?