Cabin Fever 2 : Spring Fever (2009)

If you read my Top 10 Horror Flicks Of The Decade, you’ll already know the spot that Cabin Fever holds in my heart. Eli Roth moulded a near perfect homage to the classic gross out movies of yore. Being such a fan of that original, I waited patiently, and with trepidation, for Ti West‘s sequel. After hearing him disown the project at 2009′s FrightFest, I was disheartened to say the least. And when it finally fell through that flap on my door, I was almost completely over it. So with all that said, would you believe me if I told you that Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever was actually really good? Allow me to explain…

Ti West is a film maker with a bright future. Not too many people saw The Roost, but his note-perfect rendering of a grindhouse inflected, early 80s-a-like, satanic slow-burner House Of The Devil has got him all the attention he could ever want (That sublime looking VHS release? Woah mama!). So maybe if Cabin Fever 2 had been held onto for just a little bit longer, it might have been released just as West intended it. As it stands, the producers intervened and re-cut it to reflect what they thought the people wanted, they wouldn’t let West take his name off the credits either.

What these producers and investors released as Ti West’s Cabin Fever sequel may be an absolute abortion of an edit, but I’m pretty sure still catches the tone that West was shooting for. I do mean an abortion though, they managed to chop all sense out of the movie, turning it into a confusing, and confounding, four act Frankenstein-like creation which managed to shake off my attention for the last 15 minutes, after one too many gear shifts.

Plotwise, Spring Fever follows nerdy John as he pines for his best friend, Cassie, who is dating an asshole jock type, familiar right? All the while shipments of infected water are being tracked by partying deputy Winston (Guiseppe Andrews) who vaguely remembers some weird infected campers from a while ago. Spring Fever borrows heavily from other Prom Night horror flicks, most notably Carrie, Prom Night and the recent Dance Of The Dead, and is best viewed as a series of gory sketches in which people get sick and die either quickly or slowly depending on the prominence of the character. The opening scene in which the previous outing’s Paul gets a school bus to the face is sheer shock and awe, and it works. You know from right there that this movie will not be skimping on the red stuff or the grisly bits.

As gory as the first, but not quite so subtle (less subtle than an Eli Roth film? You betcha!), Cabin Fever 2 sits bow-legged over comedy and sheer grue with almost no horror to speak of. Although inducing plenty of wincing and audible gasps, it is never truly scary at all. Seeing nails getting broken or coming out of fingertips is a big gross out for me, and ever since All The Boys Love Mandy Lane I can almost taste the blood in my mouth when someone fully cracks the back of their head on a curb. Cabin Fever 2 : Spring Fever contains both of these things, making the film a fully visceral experience for me.

There are a few nice cameos in here too, Feast and 30 Rock‘s Judah Friedlander pops up doing his Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock schtick, Larry Fessenden appears, even Kill Bill’s Michael Bowen, but most surprisingly was Mark Borchardt‘s appearance. He of Coven (pronounced Coe-ven, not like “oven”) and American Movie fame, I almost spit up when I heard his voice.

Cabin Fever 2 is not a great film, but it is a million miles from the absolute disaster I had expected and, distracting cameos aside, thrilled me for a large portion of its 86 minute running time. Sure, the tone shifts are rough and there are a few too many endings, but Cabin Fever 2 : Spring Fever is a solid gore comedy that should light up Saturday nights all over the world. If you dug the first one, you shouldn’t be disappointed. If you hated it, I would still give it a go. The director is altogether more agreeable, and he shoots some splendid gore. Prepare to groan, grimace and gurn as the bizarre grossness just washes over in waves of blood and chunks.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.