Saturday, 7 March 2015


What's that you say, Cabin Fever 3? What the hell happened to Cabin Fever 2? Spring Fever, you say? Nope. Still doesn't ring a bell. In all fairness, you'd be forgiven for missing the second part of this unwanted trilogy altogether. 

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever was a mess of a movie, a film so terrifyingly bad even the director disowned it. To be fair to Ty West (The Innkeepers), the finished article was nothing like the film he envisaged, having abandoned the film at the start of post-production, but the studio stepped in and Cabin Fever 2 emerged, the product of too many cooks and not enough good taste.

The original entry in the series, directed by Eli Roth, was one of the better cabin-in-the-woods movies, with unpredictable twists, a welcome dose of homage, sharp humour and gore aplenty. Now comes the horror sequel nobody asked for, a prequel of sorts, which aims to answer the questions nobody dared to ask. 

Maybe that should read cared? Questions like, where did the virus come from? Is there a cure? In what shape and form will the gratuitous nudity arrive? And more importantly, who on earth gave the green light to this colossal waste of time? The answer to question three is T&A. The answer to question four is pretty much the same.

A bachelor party which, in a shocking turn of events, includes - at the fiancée's request - a hot girlfriend who has known her husband-to-be since they were kids, ends violently when their cruise ship runs ashore on a medical research island. When does that ever happen? The hot girlfriend part, not the research facility. Obviously. 

After the hot girl (friend) enjoys a heart to heart with the so-called bachelor, which includes (quite naturally) taking her clothes off, she rejoins her boyfriend (the actual best friend) for a swim with the flesh eating disease. The countdown is on to find a way to survive before the inevitable forth chapter. A mysterious stranger could hold the key to their survival, but with time running out, will they get off the island with their body parts intact?

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is directed by Kaare Andrews, an award winning creator for Marvel Comics, who continues to write and draw world famous characters like Spider-Man, X-Men, Wolverine and The Hulk. As a director, Andrews has shown signs of great promise with feature debut, Altitude, and V is for Vagitus, his bombastic entry in The ABCs of Death series. 

For both Andrews and the audience however, Patient Zero is a disappointing set back. Cabin Fever 3 possesses none of the creativity, style or vigour of the films that preceded it. Unless you count a particularly gruesome bitch-fight that takes place at the end of the movie. It's almost worth the price of the film alone.

Sean Astin stars as the mysterious stranger who may or may not hold the cure, joined by a cast of relative unknowns who have appeared in the likes of Altitude, Dexter, Wild Things: Foursome and The Mentalist. The characters are mostly unpleasant, which is pretty much standard for teen horror movies these days, and you'll struggle to care about any of them as the story unfolds. 

The biggest surprise is just how long Patient Zero takes to get going. Cabin Fever 3 wades in the shallow end of genre convention for a good 60 minutes, serving up a dreary dose of clichéd characters, mad scientists and token scares. Worse still, most of the action is hidden under the cover of darkness, so it's very hard to make out what's going on anyway.

Story wise, Patient Zero does at least attempt to break away from the tried and tested formula laid out by previous instalments, offering two plot strands that come together in the final act, but it still doesn't make for gripping viewing. The third instalment is a step up from part two in every conceivable way, but that's not really a compliment. Contamination of the virus itself would be a step up from part two. 

Cabin Fever 3 offers very little in the way of titillation, and in a sub-genre that demands little more than token nudity, gratuitous violence and buckets of blood, that really is disappointing. Having said that, you do have to admire the wardrobe department for dressing one of its female scientists like a stripper. Maybe the filmmakers do have a sense of humour after all.

The truth is, despite a desperate attempt to ramp up the bloodshed in the final act, Andrews is unable to bring anything new to the table. Even the old stuff is despairingly dull. One scene in particular is a desperate retread of Eli Roth's pièce de résistance, this time treating the despondent audience to lingering tongues rather than wandering hands. 

Whether or not the producers were chomping at his heels remains to be seen, but I expected a whole lot more from Kaare Andrews. Unfortunately, Patient Zero is forgettable in every conceivable way. Great bitch-fight though.

1 comment:

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