Cabin Fever (Eli Roth, 2002)

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Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.


I love Eli Roth.  I love his smug face, cheeky smirk, his arrogant wink.  And I love his debut feature Cabin Fever, which chronicles the eventual demise of a group of college kids camping in a cabin in the woods by an aggressive flesh-consuming virus.  I know in some circles admitting such is akin to sporting a John Wayne Gacy tee and bumping off some neighborhood pets, but I’m going to unabashedly carry on because I feel he is often unfairly maligned for his films, a handful of which are some of the most enjoyable and well-crafted horror flicks to come out of the 2000s, in my opinion.

Roth’s more (in)famous film, Hostel, has almost been entirely co-opted as a portent that society is rotting from voyeuristic bloodlust and the mere act of watching Hostel (never mind enjoying it!) implicates the viewer as complicit in the plot’s grotesque perversity.  Oof!  There have been films that I might personally condemn as being utterly soundlessly depraved but Roth’s films, especially Cabin Fever, are bursting with a deliberate trashiness, a stylish self-aware breezy sleaze that is both inspired by and is in homage to the energy of the grindhouse pictures upon which Roth feasted growing up and into his own as a filmmaker.  Sometimes a good, clean, funny, gory romp through the woods with some dumb co-eds getting picked off one by one by a flesh-eating disease is exactly what we need!  Especially when it’s so splendidly cinematic.  Eli Roth is a very fine director, with an eye for excellent angles, composition and editing.  I know it sounds odd to say, considering the nature of the film, but I don’t see any overarching and alarming sadism in Cabin Fever, there’s not that steely-edged hardness that makes your stomach curl like a strip of paper held up to a flame….rather, you’re churning with queasy delight when an infected girl decides that now would be a good time to shave her legs.

Anyway. I hope you enjoy Cabin Fever.  I think its loads of horrific fun.

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2 Responses to “Cabin Fever (Eli Roth, 2002)”

  1. dumbricht Says:

    I agree completely. I loved the energy of “Cabin Fever”, reminded of the same love of film (all film) that Tarantino has.

    And one of the great, “is he going where I think he’s going with this” moments during the inevitable hook-up scene on the bed.

    A lot of fun.

  2. J-LG Says:

    “Sometimes a good, clean, funny, gory romp through the woods with some dumb co-eds getting picked off one by one by a flesh-eating disease is exactly what we need!” Amen. “Especially when it’s so splendidly cinematic.” Even better.

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