December 13, 2008

Cabin Fever (film)

Cabin Fever is an American horror film about a group of college graduates who rent a cabin in the woods and begin to fall victim to a flesh-eating virus. The film was the directing debut of filmmaker Eli Roth, who co-wrote the film with Randy Pearlstein. The inspiration for the film's story came from a real life experience during a trip to Iceland when Roth developed a skin virus.[1][2]

Roth wanted the style of his film to make a departure from many modern horror films that had been released in recent years.[2] One modern horror film, The Blair Witch Project, did inspire Roth to use the internet to help promote the film during its production and help gain interest towards its distribution.[1] The film itself, however, draws from many of Roth's favorite horror films, such as The Evil Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Last House on the Left.[1][2] Roth was tired of what he called the "watered down PG-13" horror films of the studios, and refused to compromise on the violence or nudity, saying they were essential ingredients to an '80s-style horror film.


The film centers on five recent college graduates, Jeff, Karen, Paul, Marcy and Bert, who go to a remote cabin deep in the woods to celebrate with some wanton sex and copious amounts of alcohol. They are also visited by a stoner camper, Justin (aka Grim), who has a large dog named Doctor Mambo.

Bert goes hunting, and accidentally shoots a vagrant in the woods. Although not seriously injured, he is extremely ill with an unknown disease, and Bert leaves him to die. The man later turns up at the cabin, even sicker, asking for their help in seeking medical attention, but when he recognizes Bert, the group panics and turn him away without assistance. He attempts to steal their truck and in the scuffle Paul and Marcy accidentally set him on fire and he runs into the woods where he falls into the cabin's water supply.

When Karen drinks from the contaminated water, she becomes infected and results in a rapid onset of symptoms. Paul discovers her condition the next morning when he attempts to arouse her and finds that she has been infected when his fingers sink into the rotting flesh on her leg. Unsure whether to take Karen for medical attention or wait out her fever, the friends cannot determine the best course of action. Fearful that the truck may be infectious, or that any one of them could be carrying the disease, they begin turning on one another. In order to "quarantine" Karen, they lock her in a tool shed.

As Karen lies in the shack getting sicker, her friends seek help from several sources, to no avail. They find a farm, where a woman offers to help them find a tow truck, but have to rapidly leave when they see a photograph and find that the vagrant they burned was her cousin Henry.

Jeff and Bert seem driven mad by the situation, and while Jeff thinks only of his own safety, Bert emerges as the responsible one and begins to fix their truck. Doctor Mambo, now vicious and possibly infected, returns without his owner and terrorizes the campers. Jeff sets out on his own with his uncontaminated supply of beer because of his fear of infection.

The other members of the group contract the disease by exposure to the tainted water and other ill people. Bert shows signs of infection after also drinking the water and drives to get help; during his trip he is hunted by the local townsfolk, after Dennis, the shopkeeper's son, yelled "PANCAKES" and bit his hand. They become fearful of the disease he is carrying, and attempt to kill him to quell it.

Paul sets out to get help on foot and comes across the body of the drifter who carried the disease rotting away in the local reservoir, into which he falls due to a faulty ladder, and lands atop of the diseased corpse. He also finds the body of Grim in a cave, having either rotted or been torn in half by his own dog, Dr. Mambo. Marcy (who had drunk some of the contaminated water) shows signs soon after having sexual intercourse with Paul, and breaks out in huge lesions along her back and legs. Then she decides to go shave her legs in the bathtub full of contaminated water. After noticing her legs deteriorating, Marcy turns on the shower and rinses them in the contaminated water. Panic grips her and she runs from the cabin, but is chased down by the dog, Dr. Mambo, and savagely ripped apart.

Abandoned by everyone else, Paul returns to the shack in an attempt to finally take Karen for help. He runs right into Dr. Mambo and shoots the fierce dog. He finds Karen still alive but horribly rotted by the disease, along with Dr. Mambo gnawing his way into her stomach. He realizes that there is no hope for her and puts her out of her misery with a shovel. Around this time, a wounded and thoroughly infected Bert makes his way back to the cabin, and pleads for Paul to help him with the local hunters. Paul agrees. When the hunters find the cabin, they enter and shoot Bert, killing him, but Paul hits one in the head with a hammer, shooting another accidentally on the way down. Finally, Paul kills the third by sticking a screw driver in his ear who is frantically trying to open a box of shotgun shells.

Paul, newly infected by his fall into the reservoir, seeks a way into town. Taking the truck, he accidentally crashes into a deer whose hind legs trap him in the truck, and he is covered in blood when he is forced to shoot it to escape. Continuing on foot, he comes across a party that has a deputy of the town in attendance. The deputy had promised a tow truck to fix their broken car days earlier. As Paul stumbles into the party, bloody and infuriated, the sheriff radios the deputy and informs him that a cabin of college kids have a disease and that they've killed several people; their orders are to shoot on sight. Paul attacks the party goers in a rage and attempts to escape on the highway, where he is brought into town and dumped outside a hospital by a passing trucker.

The doctors realize they cannot treat him, and instruct the sheriff to take him to a larger hospital. The fear of further outbreak and Paul's earlier, violent run-in entices the sheriff to have Paul dumped in the woods and left to die. The deputy, whose party he ruined, obliges happily.

Jeff emerges from his alcohol-induced stupor and finds his way back to the cabin to discover it littered with blood and evidence of the deaths of all his friends. He laments the loss of his friends, but his sadness turns into joy when he realizes that he has survived. Jeff exits the cabin exclaiming, "I made it!" only to be gunned down by the sheriff and his deputies. The bodies at the cabin are subsequently burned to remove all evidence and to cease further spread of the disease.

Ironically, Paul's dead body was dumped partially in the water as well, further spreading the disease. The film ends with shots of children collecting contaminated water to make lemonade, which the sheriff, deputies and some locals drink, and a large truck leaving with the local water to be sold as "natural spring water".


Actor Role
Rider Strong Paul
Jordan Ladd Karen
James DeBello Bert
Cerina Vincent Marcy
Joey Kern Jeff
Arie Verveen Henry the Hermit
Robert Harris Old Man Cadwell
Hal Courtney Tommy
Matthew Helms Dennis
Richard Boone Fenster
Tim Parati Andy
Brandon Johnson Ray Shawn
Giuseppe Andrews Deputy Winston
Eli Roth Justin aka Grim


Eli Roth co-wrote Cabin Fever with friend and former NYU roommate Randy Pearlstein in 1995 while Roth was working as a production assistant for Howard Stern's Private Parts.[1] Early attempts to sell the script were unsuccessful because studios felt that the horror genre had become unprofitable.[1] In 1996, the film Scream was released to great success, leading studios to once again become interested in horror properties. However, Roth still could not sell his script, as studios told him that it should be more like Scream.[1] Many potential financiers also found the film's content to be unsettling, including not only the gore, but the use of the word "nigger" early in the film.[1] The script was not produced until the fall of 2001, when Roth and Lauren Moews raised $50,000 to begin production with producers Evan Astrowsky and Sam Froelich. The rest of the money was raised during the shooting.


The film was shot on a small budget of $1.5 million. Composer Angelo Badalamenti agreed to compose some musical themes for the film out of enthusiasm for the material. However, the bulk of the film's score was composed by Nathan Barr who has gone on to score both of Eli's Hostel films. [2] The original killer dog was so old and tired that all of its scenes had to be re-shot with a new dog. With no time or money to find a replacement, the producers cast a real police attack dog that was so vicious and unpredictable that no actors could appear with it on camera.[2]


Grossing $33,553,394 at the box office internationally, the film was the highest grossing film released by Lions Gate Home Entertainment in 2003. Critical response to the film was positive, with a rave review from the New York Times and Film Comment magazine. Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles reviews from a wide range of critics, gives the film a score of 63%.

Many directors such as Peter Jackson loved the film, and gave him a quote to use in all the advertising. Quentin Tarantino cited "Cabin Fever" as the best new American film in his "Kill Bill Vol. 2" interview in Premiere magazine, and called Eli Roth "The Future of Horror." The film was also #28 on Bravo TV's "30 Even Scarier Movie Moments" [3] Roger Ebert, however, panned the film, stating "The movie adds up to a few good ideas and a lot of bad ones, wandering around in search of an organizing principle." However, director Paul Thomas Anderson praised "Cabin Fever," and even references the bowling alley massacre in "There Will Be Blood," a film which ends with Daniel saying that Paul was the genius and that Eli's the fraud, at which point Daniel beats Eli to death with a bowling pin.[citation needed] The film received a "Two Thumbs Down" rating on the television show Ebert & Roeper. Richard Roeper called it an "ugly gorefest" and said "Cabin Fever is a particularly disgusting and brainless version of this all-too-familiar horror film". Roger Ebert said "Director Eli Roth is trying do about four things at once, to make a horror film, a comedy, a satire and a political parable about infectious diseases and none of them work" and he commented by saying "this movie is a mess". They ended the review with Richard Roeper suggesting to viewers "don't bring snacks, if you insist on going to this movie, don't bring any food into the theater because you'll be losing it on your way out."[4]


Both Rider Strong and Giuseppe Andrews will be returning in Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, which is being directed by Ti West (The Roost) from his own script. Rider Strong will reprise his role as Paul and Giuseppe Andrews will reprise his role as Deputy Winston. Jordan Ladd will not reprise her role as Karen. Instead, she will be replaced by newcomer Lila Lucchetti. Larry Fessenden and Alexi Wasser also star.[5][6]

Source: Wikipedia

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