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Cabin Fever (Blu-ray Review)

Cabin-Fever-RemakeIt will make your flesh crawl … Executive Producer Eli Roth presents Cabin Fever, a reboot of his instant classic gorefest. Featuring all-new characters and all-new kills, Cabin Fever also includes the featurette “The Making of Cabin Fever” and theatrical trailer as bonus features.  The story is a familiar one.  This fresh spin on a horror-comedy milestone stars Gage Golightly (Exeter, Teen Wolf), Nadine Crocker (Deadgirl), Samuel Davis (Machete Kills, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) and Dustin Ingram (Paranormal Activity 3). Fans can pre-order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory.com.  The film will be available on Blu-ray from Scream Factory in association with IFC Midnight on July 5th.  Check out our review below and if you are interested, click on the Amazon link below and pre-order!

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Film 

The story of the remake of Eli Roth’s debut film Cabin Fever is a familiar one.  In case you may have forgotten what the film was about or have not seen the original, we’ll give you a little gist of what to expect.  Just out of college, a group of five friends retreat to a remote cabin in the woods for one last week of partying – only to become snacks for a gruesome, flesh-eating virus.

Travis Z’s remake of Cabin Fever is that of what most people fear in a remake; it really serves no purpose to exist.  That’s not saying its a bad film, Mr. Z certainly has some polish and flare, but ultimately this film is the exact same film we’ve seen before.  There are a couple of derivations from the source material, but they really aren’t much (One is a gender swap of the police officer).  I would say a good 80-85% of the dialogue in the film is the same as the original film.  The scenes, the sex, the death…its all the same.

Before watching this new one, I went back to Roth’s original film a couple days before to “study up”.  Beat by beat, this film follows an incredibly familiar path.  Its almost as if the exact same script was used.  Everything happens the same, except with less flare, less personality and very vanilla in what its doing.  Where Roth went messy and grindhouse with his original film, giving it some character where his were lacking, this one doesn’t even really do that.  It feels as if its going by the numbers, getting stuff done as if its on a checklist and is uninterested in doing so because its handcuffed to doing the same thing that’s been done before.

If you’re a fan of the original film, my highest recommendation is to pass on it.  If you’ve not seen the original, you could go straight here and be fine.  Especially if you have nothing in comparison.  This is a very polished, clean, patient looking film that is overly slick.  Its much in the vein of the Platinum Dunes looking style of remakes.  There is plenty of blood and from what I can tell its mostly practical effects, and they look juicy and good.  Then again, the original had some terrific practical work too.  This one does get wetter.  When it comes to the cast, though, while the original had some schmucks, they at least had solid performers and some funny cameos.  These people here are stiff, stale and vanilla making them an unfun watch.

Cabin Fever getting remade seems like it should have been a bigger deal than this is.  Or at least a more commercial venture than what its had.  A very short and limited theatrical run, VOD release and now this Blu-ray in a period of roughly 4-5 months.  Granted Cabin Fever isn’t some huge classic, it does have name recognition, the start of Eli Roth (Who, yeah, his stock has sort of fallen greatly for some reason) and its a polished remake.  Anyway, after seeing the film, it doesn’t deserve any sort of bigger accolade.  This is a skippable skip if there ever was one in terms of remakes.  Go check out Roth’s original.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail:  Like I mentioned above, this thing is slick and polished, with this transfer showing every bit of that.  Everything is rich, full and bold.  Detail is rampant.  The image is sharp and crisp with full lively colors filling out the screen.  Its top notch.

Depth:  Good depth here.  Far off establishing shots look gorgeous with smooth camera movements and a 3-dimensional look to the woods.  

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and inky, with great shading and some deep gorgeous night sequences.

Color Reproduction:  Colors, like green and red are standouts.  All the colors in the film are full, rich and feature plenty of tints on the palette.  Its not overly vibrant in appearance but its popping pretty good.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and maintain a consistent look throughout.  Graphic details on skin as well as natural wrinkles, stubble, make-up, lip texture and the like come through perfectly from any given camera distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics:  Audio is good and loud when it needs to be, restraining itself in the quiet moments to save up for some jumps.  Grisly graphic violent detail is well rounded in the foley presentation.  Overall the vocals are a tad blending, but the effects and scoring sound well mixed.

Low Frequency Extension:  Music stings for jump scares, gunfire and scuffling action all get a nice boost of activity from a lively subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  There are some good moments here in the rear channels, crafting a fulfilling forest environment.  There is a lot of unique ambiance flowing through.  The front speakers provide good placement and action chronicling in the mix.

Dialogue Reproduction:  A little lost in the mix sounding, but still loud and clear enough that its just fine and more of a nit pick.

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Extras 

The Making Of Cabin Fever (HD, 11:03) – Behind the Scenes footage with commentary from two of the producers and an interview with director Travis Z and the cast.

Trailer (HD, 1:48) 

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Summary 

Want to see Cabin Fever again, but just a little more modern and with different actors?  Well, you’re in luck, that’s what we have here.  This is a pretty lifeless, pointless remake that really had me wondering if it was the exact same script Eli Roth had for the original.  The film brings nothing of relevance to the table and I can’t figure out much of why it exists.  But, here it is.  This Blu-ray looks fantastic and sounds pretty good.  There is a little extra on there that’s decent, but safe.  I don’t know who to recommend this to, but if you’re curious, I’d say don’t be.  You’ve seen this before.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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