Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever is a BAD movie. But I kinda dug it, for that.

You may ask yourself why I bothered to watch a straight-to-vid horror sequel. That is a perfectly reasonable question. I generally avoid such schlock, and sadly, Cabin Fever 2 pretty much reinforced that stance. But Eli Roth’s original Cabin Fever is on my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade list; more importantly, Cabin Fever 2 director Ti West’s The House of the Devil is on my Top 50 list, as well.

You can read my review of The House of the Devil here. And then rent THAT movie instead of this one. The House of the Devil is stunningly original and taut, an unapologetic, unfiltered vision of Ti West’s twistedly brilliant mind. Cabin Fever 2 has glimpses of that vision, but Ti West disowned the film due to Lionsgate’s interference during post-production. And I get it, I wouldn’t want this uneven, wacky film to be my follow-up to the best horror movie of 2009.

But frankly, Cabin Fever 2 didn’t have to be nearly as much fun as it was. It’s got a perfect 80s splatter tone (well, with a little hardy-har action that I could have done without), some unparalleled gore, and shit, you guys—it’s set at the PROM. I mean, there’s a getting ready for prom montage! Quickly followed by blood and mayhem on the glowing dance floor! Simply, purely, definitively: that rules.

Noah Segan (the Teenaged Sociopathic Fuck from Deadgirl fame, another movie that is much better, albeit harder to watch, than this one) plays John, your basic high school wimp. He’s in love with Cassie (Alexi Wasser), your basic sweet pretty girl who’s inexplicably dating a horrible jackhole. Rider Strong also (briefly) reprises his role from the original, as does Giuseppe Andrews as wacky cop Winston.

The film opens with a very cool title sequence involving a school bus and a lot of blood, followed by some frankly spectacular animated opening credits detailing the spread of the contaminated water that creates the titular fever. I was really excited by this opening!

Then twenty minutes or so go by when nothing happens whatsoever. (Well, except for the aforementioned super awesome prom primping montage.) Eventually John, Cassie, Cassie’s dick boyfriend Marc (Marc Senter) and John’s raunchily hilarious friend Alex (Rusty Kelley) are quarantined inside the high school while some highly disgusting shit goes down.

The performances are okay–well Noah Segan and Rusty Kelley do a nice job. Alexi Wasser as Cassie looks miraculously like both Shelley Duvall AND Shelley Long, and has the charisma of neither of those two ladies.

The leads spend pretty much the entire movie running around the school and shouting at each other, until they manage some amazing stuff at the end that appears to come out of nowhere based on their previous ineptitude. The pacing is definitely all wrong in this movie—why do I keep having to say that lately? Use the witch’s hat, people! IT’S EASY. The film has a full 20 minutes at the beginning and end that are utterly disposable. But the stuff in the middle is pretty great!

West’s stylistic devices are in full play here: slide screens and extreme close-ups, long pans and intense musical interludes. The tone is light and wink-wink-nudge-nudge-y, but it has a tendency to err on the wacky side. It looks great for the low budget; the costumes, lighting and set designs are all very stylized and retro, much like The House of the Devil, so there’s plenty to admire visually.

And oh man, the gore. Cabin Fever 2 has it in spades. Buckets! Pools, even! Bloody dance floor, bloody disco ball, bloody bunny suit (just go with it), bloody…penis. Sorry. But it’s true!

There’s a lot of great stuff here; just not the A-plot. Or the editing. Or the pacing. I wish Ti West had been able to execute his concept unfettered by suit interference, because the film sometimes nails this perfect David Lynch surrealism and then douses it in blood and guts. And doesn’t that sound like a perfect movie? Just glimpses of awesome! But again, this was a DVD release of a horror sequel.  Cabin Fever 2 could, and should, be so much worse. It’s just disappointing to know that it also could, and should, be so much better.

8 Responses to “Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever”

  1. “titular fever” lol, let’s hope no one we know ever catches that! It makes your nips reaaaly hot.

  2. Lookit ME, having the time to post! Agreed on the intersection of Shelleys (Shellies?) on that girl’s face. Her male friend there looks like Andy Samberg’s better looking little brother.

  3. So right on the shelleys and the Sambergs.

    I just watched House of the Devil on Monday, and seriously, if you haven’t do it! For the awesome flashback water bottle alone!

    Also, do my eyes deceive me, or is that an ice dolphin lodged into that girl’s throat? And how awesome does that behind the bus gore wreckage look?

  4. It’s a swordfish, Sally! The ice sword-nose is impaling her neck. So awesome, right??

    Haha, Jon, whenever I type “titular” I always know it’s going to make you laugh.

    Mandy, Noah Segan totally looks like Andy Samberg! I never noticed before. He’s in all these movies I’ve seen, including the awesome Brick! He’s only an okay actor, but I really like his choices.

  5. wow, yeah. that is WAY too much gore for little sarah pants. but i do love me some prom montages!!!!

  6. Jon, I always considered you more of a dickular type over a titular . Maybe I’m wrong.

    CF2:SF has this really awesome scene at the beginning that kind of sets the tone for the whole movie (see pic with bus above for the aftermath). I think they did an ok job on this one. I mean, I don’t have to see it again but I would probably recommend it to a friend who likes this kind of stuff.

    Noah Segan is slowly getting in my good favor. After seeing him in Deadgirl, I kind of wanted to hate him. But now, I don’t know. He’s got something about him. His bff in the movie is also enjoyable. The Shelly Long/Shell Duvall (Shelly Dong–oh wait, that’s someone else) character, though cute, is pretty meh. Since I’m not a casting director I don’t know, but I would imagine it would be hard to find pretty ladies who can act and also don’t mind being covered in buckets of blood.

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