(2009) dir. Ti West
As you can probably guess from the title of this film, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, an unfortunate title any way you slice it, this film is the sequel to the film Cabin Fever (2002), the film that put Eli Roth onto the the film world. Though Roth also directed Hostel (2005), he’s perhaps better recognized these days as the “Bear Jew” from Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009), in which he shares the screen with Brad Pitt, announcing the “might just be my masterpiece” line (am I the only one who snags on that?)
However, Cabin Fever 2 is directed by another horror phenom, Ti West, director of The House of the Devil (2009).
I don’t know, I’ve had a penchant for horror films of late and today turned into a mini festival of sorts, starting with Dead Snow (2009), followed by this one and followed again by another. It’s the kind of indulgence that I allow myself every once in a while. But the strange thing, is this one turned out quite fruitful.
Cabin Fever 2 is a surprisingly decent, if not actually pretty darn good, horror comedy. The casting is good, featuring several young actors who have good character in their roles. The film is funny. Actually quite amusing, riffing on the ultimate gross-out of disgustingness. And yes, it’s a gore-fest of note. I mean, I don’t watch gore movies for gore, generally speaking, but you have to appreciate the over-the-topness of the buckets of blood, intestines, oozing pustules, ugh. Much very cringe-worthy material. Not for the faint of stomach.
The story opens initially with a quick wrap-up of the original, which splats a body with a school bus, and suddenly you get the title sequence. It’s meant to be punchy and funny, and it is. The title sequence is a cartoon that shows how the deadly flesh-eating ebola-like virus of the first film gets into bottled water and gets distributed to a high school just in time for prom. Basically, we’ve got a whole school of teenagers about to rot and bleed and fall to pieces.
The story (there actually is one) that follows the loner guy who desires the pretty girl (who is a friend) (who has a violent jock boyfriend) and how he strives to get the girl. Sure, it’s a story as old as the hills, but it’s set to this shocking and gory background. And yet, it kind of works.
The movie works not just on shock value, but actually works because it’s got good enough characters, a tasteless and overt humor, and the goriest gore that I’ve seen in a long, long time. Again, it’s not my usual thing, but the film takes the gore to a high, high level and it’s not all digital crap but some very painful to watch, nauseating, disgusting sequences.
In short, it’s a minor masterpiece. I know I’m overstating it to say that, but what the hell. I liked it.
And oddly enough, it featured Michael Bowen, who I mainly am aware of because of my liking for the film Valley Girl (1983), in which he played the bully bad boy. This film seems to tip its hat a bit to Valley Girl, having Bowen, now in his 40’s, as the gay principal of the school, but appearing at a gaudy prom, and featuring the song “Monster of Love” by Sparks, which is a key song from Valley Girl. Now, I know that may sound like some seriously nerdy aspect of the film, but heck, it was there. I noted it. So there.