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Cabin Fever’ proves to be transparent

John Lowe | Monday, September 15, 2003

Cabin Fever is the mindless tale of five college students, who head to a cabin in the woods on a non-stop orgy of sex and alcohol. Any time a story begins with a bunch of rowdy teens heading into the woods on a bender, I immediately become disinterested because this is the biggest horror movie cliché ever.

Unfortunately, a sickly drifter, who shows up on the group’s front porch, interrupts their planned debauchery. Some rare, mysterious disease, which is never named, has nearly eaten all of this drifter’s flesh. The door, of course, is quickly shut in his face but it is too late – one of the teenagers has already been infected and, one by one, they all begin to infect each other.

The majority of the paper-thin plot is driven by their paranoia and irrational behavior. The dialogue between the characters is so awkward and ridiculous it is impossible to take the movie seriously. Cabin Fever is The Blair Witch Project meets 28 Days Later.

Rider Strong, who played Shawn on the hit TGIF sitcom Boy Meets World, is Paul. Paul represents “Joe-everybody” and is the most likable guy in the bunch, which isn’t saying much.

The object of Paul’s affection is the virginal Karen (Jordan Ladd) who is the “All-American” girl. She is the first one to be infected, forcing Paul to watch his childhood love waste away before his very eyes.

Marcy (Cerina Vincent) is the sex kitten; her only purpose is to provide for some occasional gratuitous nudity. She has several upper body nude scenes that have absolutely nothing to do with the furthering of the story, but, strangely enough, do provide entertainment for the men in the audience.

Marcy’s boyfriend, Jeff (Joey Kern), is the egocentric jerk who eventually abandons the group in order to save his own skin, pardon the pun.

Bert (James DeBello) is the bumbling sidekick, who makes random crude jokes and comments.

Even the director, Eli Roth, makes a cameo, which is also something of a cliché.

Cabin Fever is unapologetically gory. The make-up artists create surprisingly real flesh-eating bacteria façades for the actors, especially considering the movie was made with such a low budget. I defy anyone who saw the movie to tell me that he or she didn’t get nauseous at least once.

However, the make-up artists are the only ones who should receive any accolades for this train wreck of a movie. It looks as though the film Gigli, starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, might have some competition for worst movie of the year.

Cabin Fever will leave you feeling the same way you did after seeing The Blair Witch Project: disappointed, violated and annoyed.

The plot is transparent, the dialogue is contrived and a majority of the characters are so unlikable, you don’t really care who makes it out in the end. It is insulting for the creators of this movie to think that the youth of today would actually enjoy a movie like this.

But more and more, this is the trend for Hollywood – the mass production of mediocre films that give little respect to the audience. Could this mean the end of Hollywood or is this just a slump?

Contact John Lowe at jlowe1@nd.edu