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CABIN FEVER: PATIENT ZERO (2014): Review

Cabin_Fever_Patient_Zero_2014
Cabin Fever Patient Zero 2014

I was thrilled when I heard the latest installment in the Cabin Fever franchise was coming out.  I adore the first Cabin Fever— my boyfriend and I have already mutually agreed that as soon as we get a dog, we’re naming him Dr. Mambo!— but I never got around to watching Cabin Fever 2, because I adore Ti West and have heard such bad things about it that I was just too scared to be disappointed in both Ti and the film itself! (Yes, I know the film was basically taken out of Ti’s hands, and Eli Roth has mentioned he feels guilty over that… but I’m still loath to watch it!) But I was stoked to see this installment after I had read a few articles about the rad/disgusting practical (not digital) special effects.

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is comprised of two parallel plots.  One is about Porter, the eponymous Patient Zero (played by Sean Astin) who is quarantined in a lab on an isolated island.  He explains that his son “melted in his hands” after he was infected by the flesh-eating virus. Porter himself is unharmed by the virus, and the laboratory technicians claim that his immunity to the virus is the possible key to a cure.  The second plot is about Marcus, a groom-to-be who is given a surprise bachelor party by his super bro-y brother, bland best friend/business partner, and ultra-slutty ex/childhood friend.  They take Marcus to a deserted island, which turns out to be the island housing the laboratory/quarantine, and the plots converge as the bachelor party encounters the virus and eventually stumbles onto the lab.

The plot itself is just okay.  The character development is really muddled, as we know very little about each character’s background, as well as the relationships between each of the bachelor party members.  They are stock characters, nothing super inventive about any of the characters, but to me, that’s not a big issue because if you know anything about Cabin Fever, it’s gunna end Hamlet-style … so I don’t particularly mind that these characters really weren’t worth getting emotionally invested in since there’s a good chance most of them will be deader than disco in no time flat.

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Sean Astin in Cabin Fever: Patient Zero

The only thing that really did bother me about these characters was their reactions to the virus.  There are some pretty horrific things that happen and the bachelor party members are like “Stay there. I’ll get help.” Um… if my best friend was projectile-vomiting blood or her skin was disintegrating in a violent fashion I wouldn’t be like “Just be cool ‘kay? I’ll get help.”  I would be screaming myself into a coma, weeping uncontrollably, and vomiting all over myself.  I wish there were more moments where the reactions to the events were more believable.  I have a hard time thinking that if you saw someone’s face melt off you’d be all chill and calm, only positing that “she might be sick.”

But at the end of the day, you’re not watching this movie for great characters or Oscar-worthy performances… you’re watching it because you’re seeing some serious gore, which Cabin Fever: Patient Zero definitely delivered.  I am set pretty staunchly in the “practical>digital” camp when it comes to special effects, and the practical effects are what made this movie so enjoyable for me.  You might have to be some kind of serial killer to not cringe at some of these brutal moments of gore.  It’s over-the-top in a great way.  Kaare Andrews, who directed this film, is a comic book artist, so a lot of the violence in this film is highly stylized, which I love.  I bet the storyboards for this film look identical to the shots that wound up in the final product.  The film had a very “comic book”-y feel to it, which I think is really cool.

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Virus may have unexpected effects…

The art direction gives the film an identity and makes it feel more unique, which is important since the characters and plot are not particularly inventive.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie.  I probably would have liked it more had I not known it was a Cabin Fever movie, and just viewed it as a stand-alone flesh-eating-virus movie. Don’t go into it like you’re watching a thriller-y psychological horror movie like the original Cabin Fever; go into it thinking that you’ll be watching solid B-movie. Just don’t think too hard about it and you’ll like it too!  The special effects were amazing and I loved how it was shot, and I’m sure Eli would approve of the gore-level.  Check it out!

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero will be released on Video On Demand on June 26th.

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Goth weirdo living in LA. Lit geek, horror aficionado, and USC football diehard. Lover of fine wine, good whiskey, and all things bacon. One of my life goals is to die extravagantly in a horror movie so... ya know, hook me up!

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