Even for the standards of perfunctory horror remakes, this beat-for-beat retread of Eli Roth’s 2002 cult classic feels especially redundant, a peculiarity with almost zero audience appeal beyond Roth’s own apparent morbid curiosity.
A group of nubile young college students head to a secluded cabin for the weekend, only to come in contact with a flesh-eating virus which threatens to ravage them one by one. Nothing new here.
Though Roth’s original was no masterpiece, its scuzzy style, gnarly gore and slow build ultimately won audiences over, and in every single way bar some fairly solid cinematography, this is an ersatz imitation not worthy of your time. That’s not to say that the acting and direction aren’t bad, because they’re not, but every single set-piece and memorable sequence from the original (especially the infamous “pancakes” kid) doesn’t land as well as it did before.
Yes, there’s the gratuitous nudity and some unpleasant brutality as the virus takes hold, but none of it feels as entertainingly trashy as it did 14 years ago, as director Travis Z simply goes through the motions of Roth’s original script without much passion or verve.
What should the goal of a remake be? To respect the original while bringing something new to the table, one suspects, and to that end Cabin Fever 2016 is reverent to a fault; it’s a tedious copy that never once manages to justify its existence, and it’s really tough to imagine what Roth’s thought process was with giving this the green light.
If not as sacrilegious as many recent horror remakes (though that’s in part because the original movie isn’t that great), it’s simply inexplicable that the film exists at all, a testament to genre excess and a “what if?” scenario in Roth’s mind which would have been better off left as just that.
Cabin Fever is available on Blu-ray and VOD now