Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever

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"Ungrateful little shits "

Feb 24th, 2010

Many people I know hate the first Cabin Fever with a passion that I simply do not understand. Sure Eli Roth has directed some shoddy features but his first flick is one I can watch over and over. I love the characters, the sense of humour and surreal sequences of horror. Released in 2002 the story is a self contained piece which really didn't need a sequel and yet here we are today with a vile piece of crap that really shouldn't be viewed by anyone.

For some unexplainable reason I am a sequel hound (probably something to do with being a fan of horror, every movie gets a sequel eventually) and watch any follow up no matter how bad a concept might be presented. Sure most sequels suck but I can find something that warrants its existence )my favourite Freddy Kruger line comes from the 3rd movie, Dream Warriors: "Welcome to Prime Time Bitch").

The worst type of sequel is the DTV (Direct to Video) kind, not only are production values lower but the story is normally bare bones with most characters standing around having long drawn-out conversations that go nowhere (to pad the videos run time to feature length). Cabin Fever 2, no surprises, is a DTV production but nothing I can write will prepare you for this train wreck.

Let's begin with the history of this release and how it came to be. Eli Roth was apparently contracted to write a treatment for a sequel along with the first. Deliberately writing something farcical it was rejected when one of the producers suggested Cabin Fever at a prom. Personally I don't understand America's fascination with Proms (school dance to you and me) but they decided to go with this idea anyway. Eli Roth suggested the producers go with director Ti West, a known horror director whose films I have never seen.

For numerous years the sequel never got off the ground eventually being relegated to the direct to video market. Filmed in 2007, (you read that right, the film was finished 3 years ago) it was shelved by the studio and director Ti West requested his name be removed from the movie as it was not the film he set out to make. Unfortunately for him this request was denied and his named is blasted across the opening credits. I have to wonder who was actually responsible for the final cut of this movie, they should be ashamed.

I have spent many years on websites reading news about upcoming horror flicks and was well aware of this little sequel and its troubles. Let's say I was morbidly curious, it's always possible that I could like it (Hell, I actually liked Sleepaway Camp 2) but after watching this I have to apologise for how harsh I was on The Wolfman (2010). The Wolfman also had behind the scenes troubles but is a far more competent film. I will say now if you intend to see this do not read this review – I will spoil every wretched moment of it. Also as it's a sequel the ending to Cabin Fever will also be discussed so from here on out SPOILERS BEGIN.

When the film began I was actually hopeful as it starts at the same point where the original ends. Ben our hero from the first (if you can call him that) is not actually dead and wakes face down in a river. Rider Strong who played Ben returns here in a great cameo role as he wanders through the woods ravished by the virus he contracted in the last movie. This was a nice link as most cheap sequels normally have nothing to do with the original storyline nor make use of the same actors. The look of the film was also impressive and mirrored the same tones and quality as before, was this really a DTV release? Ben makes his way to the roadside but is hit by a passing school bus and explodes in a glorious sea of red, the image freezes and the title is pasted on the screen, not a bad start at all.

Low and behold not one but two cast members return. Winston (Giuseppe Andrews) the douche cop who helped murder the original group and cover up the outbreak is the first on the scene of Ben's death. This is where the movie dovetails and the plot becomes an absolute mess. Winston mistakes the mess for a moose and allows the driver of the bus to continue on its way. I was curious as to how this was going to link into the prom, how was the blood on the bus going to infect any of the students? I shouldn't of even tried logical thought as this scene has nothing to do with the rest of the film. The students and the driver are never seen again which begs the question why did it have to be a school bus that hit Ben? (Especially when the film has a high school setting) A truck would have done, too expensive perhaps? A normal car could have worked. A truck (oh, maybe they're not too expensive) then passes by Winston carrying mineral water from the local lake. It appears that the story is now going to follow the infected water storyline setup from the first movie making the whole opening sequence meaningless. Then everything transitions into a cartoon.

This bizarre animation acts as a title sequence but is quite jarring as the title has already flashed on screen (shouldn't it have been kept for this). The animation is extremely amateur and shows the truck travelling cross country as well as showing how the infected water managed to end up bottled. That's a real mystery I would have been kicking myself for not knowing. When the titles end I suddenly realised that the producers of this DVD had pulled a fast one. The quality of the image suddenly degrades to cheap home video clarity; clearly the opening scene was created to be showcased in the trailer (making the film appear better than it actually was). In fact on watching the full trailer I noticed that all the footage had filters over it to dupe the potential buyer, appalling.

So the movie has two storylines running concurrently, the main focus is upon the infection on prom night and a side story of Winston investigating the virus (which amounts to three very brief scenes). Before we delve headfirst into this I want to ask why it was decided to make the setting of the film take place in the town of Springfield. This is the fictional setting for The Simpson's and benefits this film in no way, reminding you of a far superior product. I am also aware that the USA has four towns called Springfield (there's some useless knowledge I gained from being a Simpson's fan) but this is a fictional production and something which helped to pull me out of the film.

The prom story is ridiculous teenage drama nonsense. We focus on two nerdy kids (yawn), John is in love with his childhood friend but she has a boyfriend who just happens to beat him up everyday. His friend Alex is socially inept and his only goal in life is to get laid. Not only are the High School beats clichéd but both characters are highly unlikable and played without any ounce of charm. Every actor in this movie appear to be unknowns and give the most uninterested performances, apparently only appearing to cash a pay cheque. I liked the first movie as I enjoyed the way the characters bounced off of each other; here we are stuck with only two dull leads, despite being set within a high school the cast is minimal and characters only appear to die.

This may be a strange thing to write when dealing with the sequel to Cabin Fever but this film is disgusting and the gross out images just strike the wrong tone. The events that transpire have no context and fail to match the tone that is being presented and everything you witness you don't want to see again. The film attempts to keep the humour and surreal nature from the original but certain scenes are more gritty and disturbing, which would be fine if it was that type of film going in.

About 30 minutes in I was actually left quite shocked and was not prepared for what I saw. Alex strangely is able to convince his classmate Liz to give him a blowjob in the toilet. Both actors look quite young so this scene is uncomfortable to watch as it is, for no reason Liz exposes her breasts in what felt like a way to increase DVD sales. Following this Alex ejaculates into her mouth and we are forced to watch as Liz walks over to a sink and slowly dribbles the semen from her mouth into the drain. This is not horror and belongs more in something like American Pie but I'm sure even they would have handled this with more class.

So the prom eventually swings around and the way the school becomes infected is absolute overkill. The prom's punch is created using the mineral water from the opening scenes, apparently this isn't enough so the school janitor who is in the early stages of the virus decides to piss in the punch but as he is urinating it slowly turns into a stream of blood. Now the urine is bad enough, but in all truth I'm sure if this really happened the janitor would have had second thoughts when the blood arrived.

The first movie had mystery and suspense – we didn't know how you could become infected, what happened once you were and if there was a cure, leading to quite a lot of tension. This movie lacks tension so the makers conjure up silly devices to try and force it, in the process creating absolute farce. Once everyone has had a healthy dose of piss punch a mysterious group arrive in gas masks and lock the students in the building. I'm still trying to work out who these people were meant to be and what their goal was. If they were the government trying to contain the outbreak wouldn't they quarantine the whole town, are we supposed to believe the school are the only people who buy mineral water? Were they an independent company working for the water company? For some reason they were reluctant to shoot people outside the school but had no restraint when on the grounds. What was their function?

Once the doors are locked, within 5mins practically the entire student body has succumbed to the virus and died, indicated by spewing a fountain of blood from their mouths. Following this some people in masks enter the school and begin executing survivors. John, our hero, and his girl Cassie manage to avoid the infection and the invading men in black and leave through an open back door. A lot more happens to them on their way out but it's really not worth thinking about as it just gives me headaches. Prom tale ends here.

Winston's story is useless. He realises the virus he tried to cover up has spread, acknowledged by showing flashes of the first film; again I didn't understand the need for this. Winston visits the water company for reasons unknown. Announces to his friend he's on the run and quit the police force, I really don't understand this, why? He worked with them in the last film, has a scene been cut out? Finally in his, I want to say escape, Winston drives past the prom and picks up Cassie who is now infected (John gets captured by these strange men).

Was this the end of this crapfest? No, for the next ten minutes we see Liz (the girl who gave Alex a blowjob) working as a stripper, she infects all the customers in a prolonged and unnecessary sequence. Followed by another terrible animated sequence we see that the infection spreads around the USA and across the border to Mexico. Bollocks.

Throughout the flick we get a bizarre mix of disgusting moments and over the top violence that don't gel well. Don't get me wrong, the blood does flow and there are some really good special effects on display but they have been wasted on this slop. Here I'm going to list a lot of the bizarre moments that plague this film – they all arrive and occur to characters that are introduced moments before their respective incidents so you really couldn't care less.

• An obese girl goes skinny dipping in the school swimming pool with a random guy, there are full frontal shots of them getting in the pool, an awkward sex scene where the girl loses her virginity and haemorrhages from her vagina, leading to her death.

• Alex is infected, pulls out his penis which then spews bile, puss and blood and comes to the conclusion it needs to be amputated, thankfully removing his penis off-screen.

• Two kids infected with the virus kiss, spewing blood/vomit from their mouths back and forth as they continue to kiss. Taking place in the middle of the prom massacre no less.

• One kid has a miscarriage and dumps the dead baby in a bin.

The final two items seem to be some warped idea of comedy, perhaps there are people out there who will love this but it really was beyond me.

The music will drive you crazy as its synthesized noise that blares over dialogue. Did no one want to score this so they used generic crap?

I just don't see how anyone could enjoy this, the story is a shambles and I can't tell if the loose ends were intentional to set up another sequel. More likely all part of shoddy storytelling. Released on DVD this week at an extremely low price, I absolutely despise this film and hope that you decide to avoid this, the studios do not deserve to profit from nonsense like this. 1/10

Trivia Was screened two years ago at the Screamfest Horror Film Festival in Los Angeles
If you buy this DVD you will have wasted your money
If a sequel is ever released I won't be watching it

Director: Ti West (Although he did want his name removed)
Screenplay: Joshua Malkin, Randy Pearlstein, Ti West
Released: 2010
Rating: 18
Starring: Rider Strong, Giuseppe Andrews, Judah Friedlander, Noah Segan

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