Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern
Directed by Eli Roth
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
When it comes to Eli Roth’s directorial debut, Cabin Fever, fans usually fall into one of two camps — those who love it and those that absolutely hate it. Me? I dug the flick for all its quirkiness and gross-out fun. Is it the second coming of great horror? Certainly not, but it never tried to be either. Now that the flick is on Blu-ray, it brings with it an additional six minutes to make this an unrated director’s cut. Will the new stuff win you over or sway your opinion? First the plot crunch.
Four friends head out into the woods to do a little partying at a remote cabin. Our quartet are all about one thing — partying! Everything moves along swimmingly as the booze flows freely, tops come off, and everyone celebrates their last few days of decadence before having to join the real world. Unfortunately for them there’s something in the woods that’s not exactly looking to play nice. It’s not a slasher, a monster, or even just a pervert looking to tug one out. Instead it’s a deadly virus. A flesh-eating virus that turns its victims into nothing more than bone-laden adipose.
That’s the set-up, and it’s an effective, albeit familiar one. So what do the six additional minutes add? Mostly a bit more exposition, but there are a few extra violent payoffs as well. Also, the film’s conclusion has been re-edited and as a result feels far less abrupt than it did in its theatrical cousin.
In terms of picture quality and sound, it’s much better than the DVD but still not exactly outstanding in terms of onscreen image. The colors pop when appropriate, the blacks are well suited, but there’s a distinct lack of depth, and film grain abounds during night scenes and close-ups.
What is outstanding, though, is the new 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, which features not only Nathan Barr’s fantastic score but also a really squishy sound mix that borders on the nauseating side of the fence. It’s a true treat, I tell ya! Especially the shaving scene. Talk about skin crawling.
Two new bits of supplemental material join the fray along with most of the original DVD’s goodies as well. All the original featurettes have made the jump, including the family friendly version of the film and the silly Pancakes! kung-fu montage. The only thing that didn’t make it over were the five commentary tracks. This makes sense considering this is a new cut of the film. So Eli Roth, Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, Cerina Vincent, and Joey Kern all got back together to record a new one just for this edition, and like the others it’s a winner. Even better, it now has a hindsight quality to it that lends itself to the excellence of the track. Really good stuff. In addition to that we get two new episodes of Roth’s “The Rotten Fruit”, which in case you’ve forgotten details the exploits of a band of evil claymation-fueled fruits. Honestly? These weren’t as good as the originally included three episodes, but more “Rotten Fruit” is hardly a bad thing.
So there you have it, folks! The lowdown on one of modern horror’s most talked about debuts. Collectors will want to hold on to their older DVD’s, if only for the original cut and the commentaries, as well as pick up the Blu-ray to see the film as Roth meant it in high definition. Which cut is better? I’d say that’s pretty subjective, though as a fan I’m partial to this new one. Check it out and get itchy all over again!
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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