Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009) - Borderline Nauseating

On the Menu: CABIN FEVER 2: SPRING FEVER (2009); Unrated

Ingredients: Rider Strong, Giuseppe Andrews, Noah Segan, Alexi Wasser, Rusty Kelley, Mark Borchardt, Larry Fessenden, Michael Bowen and Judah Friedlander. Directed by Ti West. Run time: 87 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: I didn't know anyone had shot a sequel to CABIN FEVER until I read last week that the DVD was being released on Tuesday. I consider the original one of the best gross-out horror films ever made, so there's no way I could pass up its sequel (even if it wasn't directed by Eli Roth and went straight to DVD).

The movie begins with a cold open and picks up where the first one left off, and it seems only a couple hours or a day or two have passed since the end credits rolled as we find one of the original cast members emerging from the lake and trudging through the woods. Once the scene plays out we're shown the opening credits in an animated title sequence that illustrates how the town's water supply is contaminated and where it's being shipped.

Needless to say, the bulk of the shipment ends up at the local high school on the day of the prom. We're introduced to nerdy John (Segan) and his horny best friend, Alex (Kelley). John's in love with his long-time friend, Cassie (Wasser), who has just dumped her relentless jerk of a boyfriend, Marc. The next 18 minutes are devoted to figuring out who is going to prom, but not without four gross scenes and a sinister janitor.

Meanwhile, Officer Winston (Andrews), another character from the first film, puts two and two together about his part in the water contamination, and attempts to save the day and cover his butt at the same time.

Unfortunately, the main ingredient for the prom punch is the local bottled water. This is where things get gross and weird... and gross a lot more... and weird again.

Tough to Swallow: The bottled water company in the first film was Down Home Spring Water; here it's just Down Home Water. I mean, it'd make sense to maintain the company name if you're going to use Spring Fever in the title of the movie.

These next three gaffes almost made me throw up. During a getting-ready-for-prom montage, Alex calls John. When John hangs up the phone, his alarm clock reads 7:13 p.m. When Alex calls back, John's clock reads 7:12 p.m. In the library scene, John reads a couple pages about a skin disease. The first page has the word underlying misspelled as "undrelying," and the next page with text has the word amputated misspelled as "amuptated" in big, bold letters. Just thinking about them again makes me sick.

As far as the story goes, I don't quite understand the motives of the government-type guys in Hazmat suits. Quarantine? Cover-up? Either way their methods are confusing, and they're not very thorough went it comes to searches and locking doors. Also, the last 6 1/2 minutes were total trash. The movie gives up on the main characters and decides to bring back an earlier character while giving two producers (Patrick Durham and Jonathan Sachar) about 5 minutes of screen time. Their acting, if you can call it that, is atrocious. Well, pretty much all of the acting is bad. A poorly-done animated sequence (obviously, created with a lesser program or animator than the first) leads us to the closing credits.

One more thing -- Noah Segan looks like Jack McBrayer and Brendan Fehr's love child. It was hard to look at him with a straight face for most of the movie.

Something to Chew On: Eli Roth said he never considered directing the sequel "unless it was an animated musical about a corpse-raping deputy." However, he felt his co-writer Randy Pearlstein had a great story for a sequel and felt it could have been better than his original.

The movie was shot in 2007, but was shelved by Lionsgate until its premiere at the Screamfest Film Festival on October 24, 2009. Director Ti West abandoned the project about halfway through post-production when producers wanted to re-edit the movie. West attempted to use the Hollywood pseudonym, Alan Smithee, but he wasn't allowed since he wasn't a member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), and use of the name was formally discontinued by the DGA in 2000. West wanted the film to be an homage to 1980s sex romp movies and films by John Waters. I'm sure Waters would be proud of the pool scene. Watching the movie though, it feels more like CARRIE and PROM NIGHT (even using the PROM NIGHT theme song).

There are two fun references to the original film. I'll just say rabbit and pancakes.

The film currently has a 4.5 user rating on IMDb.com (587 votes).

Sides: The DVD includes a 3-minute "Gore Reel," which goes the extra mile with some of the footage used in the movie. There is also a behind-the-scenes featurette, which is about 13 minutes long. This featurette includes interviews with cast and crew, excluding West, about the story and certain gore scenes. It also has trailers for other upcoming Lionsgate movies.

Aftertaste: The movie suffers from losing its director before it was finished, plain and simple. The producers tacked on a stupid ending, which I suggest skipping, to pad their egos without regard to the final product and creative vision of the director. I did like the way they give us the first handful of closing credits (superimposed over CG skin). The movie itself had definite potential. I hope eventually the director's cut will see the light of day.

I went into watching this (and everyone else should, too) with the expectations that it was going to be a crapfest with a major gross-out factor. Expectations achieved. The acting is sub-par, and none of the characters are really likable. The movie has two types of gross: funny-gross and puke-gross. Seriously, this has to be one of the grossest films I've seen in a while, and, let's face it, that's what anyone is really watching it for anyway. The yellow snow cone scene in JACKASS is the only time a movie has had me gagging to the point of nearly vomiting all over myself. To me, there wasn't anything that extreme in this movie. However, the fingernail and diseased genitalia scenes are pretty rough, especially if you've just finished eating 3 five-layer burritos.

Rating:

3 comments:

  1. Two things I knew when I started reading this: this movie would suck and 5 layer burritos are 89 cents of bliss.

    I went through your IMDB vote history and we seem to have a lot the same taste. I can't find much to disagree with you about aside from a few glaring omissions...and JFK is a ten but Nixon is only a six? That seems a bit odd to me. Although I do seem to have a higher Oliver Stone tolerance than most.

    On to the glaring omissions. Maybe you have seen some of them before the days of IMDB but if you haven't they're worth finding.

    Touch Of Evil (Welles)
    Orson Welles in a fat suit and Charlton Heston in brown face, what's not to love? Get the Restored to Orson Welles' Vision version.
    Thief (Mann) (good Michael Mann film debut featuring James Caan)
    Cool Hand Luke (lives up to 40 years of hype)
    The Machinist (Anderson, director of Transsiberian)
    Badlands (Malick, you'll have vibraphone in your head for days)
    Paper Moon (Bogdonovich, never has a little girl smoking cigarettes been so endearing)
    American Gangster (Scott)
    The Last Kiss (Goldwyn, Carl Bruner of Ghost can direct, who knew?)
    Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Peckinpah)
    This Boy's Life (great De Niro, hotshot)
    Jack the Bear (great DeVito, now that's just weird)

    Ok so not all of them are exactly essential but they're good nonetheless. You won't waste your money on any of them.

    But good call on stuff I didn't expect to find like Wonderland, Tigerland, Wonder Boys, The Man Who Wasn't There, 25th Hour, Abre Los Ojos, Frailty.

    Melissa and I were trying to think of some more movies you might not have seen and she came up with Alpha Dog which I agree with. Now that I think about it, Anton Yelchin reminds me a little of a young Michael J. Fox.

    And our low budget horror flick of the week would be Mum and Dad. Horror with British accents, it's funny whether it means to be or not.

    Anyway, keep the reviews coming - Adam (your sister's boyfriend)

    BTW, 3 does seem to be the magic number with 5 layer burritos.

    15 layers and not a single one of them is regret.

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  2. Actually, I was thinking about renting AMERICAN GANGSTER, but went with CABIN FEVER 2 instead. I was just in the mood for stupid and gory... and something not close to 3 hours.

    I have seen THE MACHINIST. IMDb lists it as El maquinista since it was shot in Spain.

    I'm fairly certain I watched COOL HAND LUKE in college, and I know I watched PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID in one of my film classes. I keep a notebook of all the movies I watch, but I've noticed I have lapses where I forget to jot them down immediately afterward. I actually own both of these on DVD, so since they're not listed in my vote history it will give me an excuse to watch them again.

    As far as JFK vs. NIXON goes, I've always loved any movie/TV special dealing with JFK, so there was bias. I did enjoy FROST/NIXON though.

    I think Melissa's mentioned ALPHA DOG to me before, but I'm more intrigued by MUM & DAD. If you haven't already seen them, some great horror recommendations that come to mind are DEAD SNOW, THE SIGNAL, FIDO, THIRST and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.

    Thanks for the suggestions, Adam, and thanks for reading.

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