Thursday, September 4, 2014
'Cabin Fever: Patient Zero' (Movie Review)
Zero Redeeming Qualities
The original Cabin Fever is a contentious "love it or hate it" type of movie. Ti West's follow up, Cabin Fever 2:Spring Fever, featured a bunch of scummy high school kids bleeding out everywhere and had some production issues, but this new "prequel" Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is just straight up terrible.
Patient Zero obviously has a much higher budget than the last sequel, and takes place in the Dominican Republic. Marcus (Mitch Ryan) invites his brother and childhood friends down to the DR for his wedding, and a bachelor party getaway on a deserted island. Unbeknownst to them, Sean "I'll star in this project if lunch is free" Astin is being experimented on in a secret lab on said island after being the only survivor of a deadly virus outbreak that struck a bunch of Habitat for Humanity workers. I know I just ripped into Sean Astin back there, but seriously, I'm a big fan of his work and I hate to see the dude who was Samwise reduced to being in such a steaming pile of garbage. His performance is miles apart from anyone else in the film, even if it's just delivering a few lines while aimlessly wandering around with a Ted Kaczynski Unibomber beard.
Back to the story. My first issue is that as a prequel, Patient Zero should exist chronologically earlier than the other two Cabin Fever movies, but the technology, cell phones, and other minor details make it look as if it happens AFTER them. This should have been really easy to not screw up, considering it takes place in the tropics and the other movies are in the woods and a small town high school. There are a bunch of other tiny incongruencies, but I'm not gonna nitpick. The group, who I'll refer to as "The Party Gang" from here on out because their names don't matter, arrives on the island and a couple of them go snorkeling and get infected.
Meanwhile, Sean Astin is concocting an escape plan, and manages to infect everyone in the lab, causing all hell to break loose and a really busty scientist girl to get covered in blood vomit and then take a shower. Worlds collide when the Party Gang makes radio contact with the scientists and think they can find help for their gooey, ailing friends. They make their way to the lab and have to avoid a bunch of virus zombies while...WAIT, TIME OUT...Cabin Fever was NOT a ZOMBIE MOVIE! Patient Zero takes the awful creative liberty of making the virus victims move, act, growl, and attack like zombies. I know they are "en vogue", but it just reeked of someone saying "Hey, zombies are super popular, this will be great!" during a brainstorming session.
By this point everyone is turning on each other and The Party Gang is in ruins, although they are all so unlikeable that you barely care what happens to them. Everyone then races to a small boat that is the only way off the island. Busty scientist girl is the first to make it, but then gets into a chesty zombie girl fight with the only female member of the Party Gang, who ALSO happens to be a chesty zombie girl. So two chesty zombie girls begin tearing each other apart, and it ends with one of them getting their head smashed in by a giant dildo. It's an apt metaphor for the death of the Cabin Fever franchise you've been watching for the past 83 minutes.
It all leads up to a final escape, and without spoilers I can tell you there are massive plot holes in what should somehow tie into the beginning of the original Cabin Fever. Also, there are so many unanswered questions about whether Sean Astin's beard signified evil as cinematic beards often do. The final kick in the crotch from Patient Zero is delivered when they fill all the story gaps from the film via reverse orders clips in the credits. So, the swiss cheese plot gets completed as THE CREDITS ROLL.
If I could make one of those Youtube shaming videos where Cabin Fever: Patient Zero had to wear a sign saying how incompetent it is, I would. This movie wasn't necessary, and if Cabin Fever needed an origin story, this wasn't it. Watch only if you want to feel bewildered, frustrated, and sad for Sean Astin all at the same time. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go shake a Red Box to try and get my $1.29 back.
Reviewed via Red Box. Running time 91 MIN.