Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009)
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Randy Pearlstein, Ti West, Joshua Malkin
Rider Strong, Noah Segan, Giuseppe Andrews, Alexi Wasser, Marc Senter, Michael Bowen, Andrea Powell, Patrick Durham, Jonathan Sachar, Gabrielle Tuite, Micah Shane Ballinger, Randy Bernard, Mark Borchardt, Abby Broadway, Larry Fessenden, Judah Friedlander, Taylor Kowalski, Ira Menard, Lucy Spain, Mary Katherine White, Sanethia Dresch, Brandon Nikia Warren, Alexander Isaiah Thomas, Regan Deal, Rusty Kelley, Amanda Jelks, Angela Oberer, Lindsey Axelsson, Lila Lucchetti, Caitlin Coons, Hayley Lovitt, Lisa Hellen Bates, Thomas Blake Jr., Anderson Boyd, Marvin Cooper, Brenden Donovan, Britney Galido, Adam Hassan, Cathy Hernandez, Jamie Rae Hulick, Amber Nann, Michael L. Nesbitt, Raymond Scott Parks, Michael J Roberts, Wendy Rosoff, Todd Roy, Myles Scott, Raymond Shepard, Brandon Nikia Warren, Matt Whisnant, Patricia A. Selznick, Stephani Drapeau, Alesandra Shultz, Bea Woolen
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|Movie Review by Jarrod |
October 22nd, 2017
As a gross-out spectacle, 'Cabin Fever 2' works fantastically well. Picking up right where its 2002 predecessor left off, we see a hideously disfigured Rider Strong, the lone survivor of the first film, after he was left for dead in a nearby stream. He stumbles through the woods, making it out to the highway, before he gets splattered by a school bus. Despite getting top billing, Strong occupies only these first few minutes. But his presence reminds us of the Eli Roth original, in case we happened to forget, and that is certainly possible.
Cabin Fever was Roth's big debut. Obviously inspired by The Evil Dead, with a group of young, horny friends at a secluded "cabin in the woods", falling victim not to demons, but to a nasty, highly contagious flesh-eating disease. With some local, gun-toting rednecks thrown in for good measure. The fate of Strong's character indicated that his infected blood contaminated a source for some nationally distributed bottled water.
In this sequel, directed by Ti West, heavily influenced by Roth, we see a truck making a delivery of the contaminated water to a small town, where the high school students are preparing for their senior prom. You can tell where this is going. An inventive opening credits sequence uses animation to emphasize the biological calamity that awaits these unfortunate kids; the virus is present in every individual bottle.
Now we get to the movie's far more conventional elements, as it becomes a typical study of the high school social environment and hierarchy, where the students are easily identifiable types. The main characters are John (Noah Segan) and his best friend Alex (Rusty Kelley). Both are nerdy outcasts. Alex is a horndog slacker; John is smart, sweet, and sensitive, with plans to become a doctor. John is hopelessly in love with Cassie (Alexi Wasser), whom he has known since childhood. She considers him a friend and not much more. He is baffled by her decision to date a psychopathically jealous cretin, who is controlling and verbally abusive. There is a gay principal. And the horrible old hag who teaches biology.
The popular and rich Rick, likely a jock, is paired with the self-centered blonde destined to be prom queen (and who is likely a cheerleader), but makes a bet with his buddies that he can score with shy fat girl Frederica (Amanda Jelks), who scribbles his name in her notebook and fantasizes about him. It is a cruel joke, but one in which Frederica participates, because she has dreamed of giving her virginity to a guy like Rick. And she falls for his artificial sincerity and crass techniques of seduction.
Frederica resonated with me more than any other character, mostly because Jelks plays her with such authenticity and awareness. The role probably had autobiographical significance for her. And she is written with an alarming amount of sensitivity, never the victim of ridicule or bullying for her weight or appearance. We are reintroduced to the obnoxious and dimwitted Deputy Winston (Giuseppe Andrews), who remembers the events of the first film, and how it was he who dumped Strong's body, and he rather slowly connects the dots about what will happen in this film. And decides to flee before things get worse.
This is shortly after a group of mysterious men in hazmat suits, possibly mercenaries, show up to "contain" the situation, and by contain, we mean make sure there are no survivors, as they lock down the school and let the virus do its business. It culminates in a bloodbath at the prom more graphic than anything seen in Carrie. As people vomit blood, and have their skin peel off. For some of the guys, well, the virus may first decide to manifest its symptoms around that most precious part of the male anatomy. Hard to miss the STD metaphor, and how they can be spread orally.
The ending credits use animation once again, to show that the virus was not fully or successfully contained. But is on its way to spread into multiple major cities and into Mexico. Ti West finds plenty of awkward humor to merge with the gory horror. And delivers on both male and female nudity, although there is more of the latter than the former. It should be noted that 'Cabin Fever 2' came out in 2009, seven years after the Roth original, although it was crafted to be a direct continuation. It should also be noted that West disowned the film, after petitioning to have his name removed from it, claiming that the end result was more the product of studio and executive interference than what he had originally envisioned. It still ranks as an outlandishly enjoyable genre effort.
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