Cabin Fever (2002)
Cabin Fever, the debut of now renowned horror filmmaker Eli Roth (Hostel), opens as the most conventional of horror movies: a bunch of teenagers retreat to the woods to spend a week in a cabin. This and similar formulas were used frequently in the slasher movies of the 1970s and in the resurgence of this subgenre in the 2000s. And Roth even adds a Deliverance-ish scene at a local convencience store which turns out to be more clever than what it seems at first.
This all may seem a bit too familiar to interest, but it gradually becomes clear that Cabin Fever is a little different. Firstly, the dialogue and the characters' interaction is a little more humanlike and justifiable than in your standard horror movie. And secondly, as the infectious flesh-eating virus starts terrorizing these teenagers, Roth exhibits a fair share of flair and creativity in how he lets the plot unfold and the characters fend for themselves. The film shifts with tongue-in-cheek from standardized horror plotting to bits and pieces of inventive development, and through it all, Roth maintains a fine level of suspense, genre considered. Cabin Fever is disgusting and attractive in equal doses and in a non-offensive way. And the ending is full of confidence and panache, it’s a wrap-up which Roth clearly knows to be an ace up his sleeve.