Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ti West's Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009)

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009), the sequel to Eli Roth's best film, Cabin Fever (2002), takes place soon after events in the original. There are no spoilers within of Cabin Fever 2 but there are, unavoidably, spoilers for the original movie.
The Good: Joshua Malkin's screenplay from a story by Randy Pearlstein and the film's credited director, Ti West, seeks to continue the original's quirky humor and gross-out gore scenes and place the hijinx in a high-school setting. The narrative of Cabin Fever 2 also sets out from the original to have Cabin Fever 2 a stronger, stand-alone film: only two characters from the original appear, one whom is very much welcomed while the other is almost unrecognizable, and the horror theme of the "contaminated water" tenuously links the two films. Beyond that the film really begins with a blood-stained bus full of students on the way to school while a water truck follows behind. The water was obtained at the same source as in the original, and in a fun animated sequence behind the credits, it is shown how quickly the water is moving in and around town. Cabin Fever 2 moves in closer with its main character, John (Noah Segan) who harbors a serious secret love for Cassie (Alexi Wasser) who just broke up with her arrogant, bully boyfriend, Marc (Marc Senter). It's the morning of the prom, and John and his best friend, Alex (Rusty Kelley) do not have dates...yet. The dialogue is well-written, and the characters are well-drawn. All the scenes within the first half of the film are energetic and fun with likable characters with each actor giving an enthusiastic performance. There is a real attempt by the participants to evoke a classic sense of teen comedy from older films. John, Alex, and Cassie are likable characters, and it is easy to watch them. John, especially, is a refreshing character, as he seems to wear his heart on his sleeve. Even the gross bits induce a chuckle, especially a sequence involving Alex in a restroom. The Bad: Eventually in Cabin Fever 2 the gore scenes take over the film. Throughout the whole film, it doesn't feel as if any of the film participants are making any genuine attempts at scares. Those fun characters from the first half slip into victim mode, making the first half seem like just a vehicle to get the viewer to a gross-out finale, rather than creating likable characters. After the first half of the film, some of the violent scenes get really brutal and seem out of place for a film that has such an overall air of light fun. Cabin Fever 2 ends more than once, by the way.
The Ugly: Cabin Fever 2 suffers from a serious schism: little motifs and bits from lots of types of films thrown together in a non-organic way. The film's credited director, Ti West, reveals in an interview here and from a news report here (which corroborates what is related here) that he apparently butt heads with the producers (the IMDb lists sixteen people holding a producer credit on the film) over which direction to take the film. The end result is a film that is undeniably fun at times yet wholly unsatisfying.


Aaron said...

I pretty much agree with you completely. It's fun, it has some outstanding gore, and it's nice to see Deputy Winston back, but as a whole it's "meh". In all fairness though, for a movie to have supposedly been butchered and re-shot and re-edited as much as it did, it's a lot better than it could have been. I could have did without the animation sequences that bookend the film, but for a essentially low budget horror movie/cash-in it was surprisingly stylish at certain points. Nice "to the point" write-up, Hans! Hope all is well in your neck of the woods, bro.

Hans A. said...

Thnx, Aaron and I'm doing well. I probably wouldn't have done a review on this one, except that I started writing it without realizing that there's not a whole lot to say about it. Majority of February has been mediocre to sub-par flicks with not much for me to really dig on.