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March 2010

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever

cast: Noah Segan, Alexander Isaiah Thomas, Guiseppe Andrews, Alexi Wasser, and Rider Strong

director: Ti West

83 minutes (18) 2009
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Lions Gate DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 3/10
review by Gary McMahon

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever

I'm one of the few people who actually liked Eli Roth's trashy feature debut, Cabin Fever. I thought it was a fun, grungy little exploitation film with an irreverent script and a surprisingly bleak ending. The sequel - drolly titled Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever - has all the makings to be the same, but there's something missing. I'm still not quite sure what the missing element is, even after watching the film, but maybe it'll come to me during the course of this review.

The film begins where the original left off, with the last survivor (Rider Strong) staggering up out of a river which feeds the local spring water plant (yes, you did read that right) and into the road, where his diseased body is promptly splattered by a passing school bus. It's actually a promising beginning - the same irreverence, a great exploding body gag, and it always bodes well for a sequel when it references the original in the first few frames. Sadly, things really don't take off as I'd hoped.

What follows is a rather cheap-looking animated credit sequence charting the journey of an infected batch of water as it's bottled and then delivered to the local school. The weird skin disease from the first film, it seems, is still around and ready to infect others. I found it rather disturbing that none of the characters names lodged in my mind; I forget them even as I was watching. This is probably the fault of a fairly tedious script, dull acting (even from Noah Segan, who was pretty good in the recent Dead Girl), and underwritten characters (well, they're caricatures, really).

It's the day of the night of the school prom, and all the kids are trying to get dates or splitting up with their partners. There's some underage titillation, and we are meant to assume that anyone with a scabby lip, a patch of dry skin, or a damaged fingernail is now carrying the infection. Eventually, after a lot of foreplay, we get to the actual school prom, and a few splashy scenes aside, it isn't really worth the wait.

Some kids get killed; some kids don't. Then, wedged onto the end of the film, we have a very odd sequence featuring a stripper from earlier in the film. I suppose it's meant to signpost a further sequel, but it feels like it belongs to another film entirely. I've read elsewhere that the director had nothing to do with these tacked-on final scenes, but if that's the case then he must have delivered a final cut which lasted little over an hour...

There it is: the thing that fails to work. Each scene in Cabin Fever 2 feels like it belongs to another film. There's no consistency in either tone or plot - it's all just thrown at the screen in a rather slapdash manner. If the filmmakers can't even be bothered to care, why should we?



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