Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009)

Doing a sequel to a movie can be hard-especially if it's a sequel to a largely divisive movie. The original "Cabin Fever" fits roughly in two camps: Those who love it (like me) and those who think it's one of the worst horror movies of all time. So when it was announced that Ti West was directing the sequel, I was interested. I had seen his debut movie "The Roost" and was impressed with what I saw-a tribute to the 70's and 80's era of horror that mostly got it right. He seemed like the perfect choice.

Then the news broke. Basically, Lionsgate was unsure of what to do with the movie, and West abandoned it to work on an excellent little movie called "The House of the Devil." Then the producers shot new material and edited the film without West's permission. West was unhappy with this, and went on to disown the movie (even trying to give it the "Alan Smithee" credit.) Now, here we are, and the movie is finally on DVD. Is it the disaster West made it out to be?

For the most part, it's not.

The movie opens where the original ended-Paul (Rider Strong) wakes up in the creek he was dumped in, now barely recognizable due to the disease disfiguring him. After stumbling though the woods and into the road, he's hit by a school bus, splattering him everywhere. Way to make an exit.

Cut to High school, and the upcoming prom. Poor John (Noah Segan) is hopelessly in love with Liz (Regan Deal), who just happens to be dating a total asshole in Marc (Marc Senter, here slightly influenced by the villain from "The Karate Kid.") When his best pal Alex (Rusty Kelley) decides to go to the prom (after a girl with a suspicious bump on her lip and braces gives him a blow job-why anyone would let a girl like that give them a blow job is beyond me), John decides to go-as does Liz. Unfortunately for them (and the rest of those attending) the flesh eating bacteria from the original has made it's way into the drinking water.

Oh, and let's not forget Deputy Winston (Giuseppe Andrews), who puts two and two together and realizes that if he doesn't find a way out fast, he's going to be in some deep shit.

First thing's first: "Cabin Fever 2" is not a better movie than the original. In fact, it's a largely different beast. Where as Eli Roth made his movie about what would happen if five dumb College kids found themselves in an awful situation, West is more interested in paying homage to the likes of early John Waters movies, as well as several 80's teen flicks. In a lot of ways, this movie eschews much of the horror (well, save for a few scenes), instead opting for something that feels like a gory, darkly comic version of a teen comedy. And for the large part, that works, as he let's the audience get to know these characters, and whattya know, some of them are kind of likable. It also helps that the cameo appearences (from Strong, "30 Rock's" Judah Friedlander, indie horror darling Larry Fessenden, and "American Movie's" Mark Borchardt as Winston's cousin) are fun and at times really funny.

Oh, and speaking of the gore, this sucker out does the original in this department. Among the grotesqueness on display, we get: a gnarly bit with an infected penis, bloody piss in the punch bowl, a head bashed in with a fire extinguisher, loads of blood spewing forth, a hand lopped off at the wrist, a really bad miscarriage, and more. You can tell that they went all out in this department.

So far, it's been a really fun time...and then the final 10 minutes takes place. This is the part of the movie in which the producers and the studios interference can be seen, and it really shows. It all takes place in a Strip Club, and it clashes with the tone of the rest of the movie, feeling incredibly out of place-and not to mention nowhere near as funny as the producers thing it is. In short, that part of the movie is a disaster.

Other than that, "Cabin Fever 2" is a really fun (but flawed) gorefest that should entertain some and divide others. I myself really enjoyed it-except for the lame conclusion.

Rating: 7.5/10

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