Cabin Fever

Empire (UK) - - CINEMAS -

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 6

MAY 27 DI­REC­TOR CAST

PG 90 MINS.

PG 95 MINS.

Had they learnt noth­ing from Sight­seers?

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