UNFAIR COMPARE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL! CABIN FEVER vs. CABIN FEVER
And, just in time for Halloween, we have Jeremy (the man behind A Brew to a Kill) tagging in for a special guest entry!
Remakes are nothing new. Especially in the Horror genre. Name recognition is everything over something new or different. It isn’t uncommon to see a foreign film remade in the US. The Ring, Ju-On, A Nightmare on Elm Street it goes on and on. But nothing prepared me when word that Cabin Fever was getting a remake. A movie that was only 13 years old. A movie that had two sequels. The producers wanted to update for “modern audiences”. And they were even using the same script. All I could think was why?
I saw Cabin Fever in theaters when it came out. I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s a blast. Funny and disgusting. A winner. Cribbing songs from the Last House on the Left soundtrack revealed a filmmaker that knew his shit but could make a movie that wasn’t solely reflexive. The gore and makeup effects from the legendary KNB EFX are still top notch.
And when I say they used the same script, I mean the exact same one. So much so that, Bert, is caught stealing the same brand candy bar from the general store. And cracks the same joke when asked why he took it. The Spanish film [REC] was remade shot for shot as Quarantine in America. But what Sony did was wait to release the original after the remake was out on DVD. There are minor differences here and there but the entire thing feels like a fan remake.
So what are the differences? The character of Bert is a nerd instead of a jock. He whines about a lack of wifi and video games. How timely. And instead of a rifle he’s slinging an AR-15. A few welcome changes include the elimination of a racial epithet said by the clerk at the store. Only to have the “joke” paid off in the final moments. And the reveal of Karen’s infection is far less skeevy. In the original Paul’s character starts groping Karen without express consent. In the remake, she wants him to. That is something worth changing.
Easily the biggest difference is all the humor has been sucked out of this “modern” take. Deputy Winston is easily the best character in this movie. I get recasting the role as a woman. By no fault of the actress, the character is now menacing instead of hilarious. This is like retelling a joke but not being able to deliver the punchline. A serious tone was wanted. My suggestion would have been to use an original screenplay.
Back to my original question, why? The sequels, including 2014’s Cabin Fever: Patient Zero didn’t perform well. To my knowledge, there weren’t released theatrically. And I’m not knocking, direct to video Horror. That’s where to find most of the good titles. Perhaps six years between the original and sequel waned audience interest. I understand wanting the desire for a franchise. It made 30 million on a 1.5 million dollar budget. A remake was thought to be course correction. I checked VUDU and Amazon, my go to for VOD rentals, both only had a purchase option for the 2016 remake. But Family Video saved the day. If there’s one by you check them out. I have nothing but nice things to say about them.
Wish I could say the same about this remake.