I’m not convinced I’ve even seen Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever in its entirety, it was before my time at Bloody-Disgusting and – while I was a fan of the first ever since it came out on DVD – I never athletically sought ought the sequel. But The Wolfman did, and he didn’t much care for it (even though he loves director Ti West’s other films). But there’s one scene he likes! Sometimes finding a saving grace in a film comes down to finding just one scene that really hits it out of the park. And that’s precisely the point The Wolfman (@TheWolfmanCometh – on the boards) aims to illustrate here in his column!
We’re going to, on occasion, start examining good scenes that outpace the general quality of the film that contains them. And we hope you’ll come along for the ride! Head inside for his take on Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever!
With all of these articles I’ve been writing, entitled “Good Scenes in Bad Movies”, the only consistency I’ve noticed is how many people disagree with me. GUYS, I’M OKAY WITH IT, I CAN TAKE THE ABUSE. I’d like to point out, however, that all of these articles are opinion pieces, and I am speaking solely on behalf of myself. Not Bloody Disgusting as a whole, not the entire horror community, just me, your friendly neighborhood Wolfman. When it comes to Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, I already know that a bunch of people are going to post comments like “OMG this movie rulez” or “r u kidding me? ur out of touch with the horror community”. Even though there might be some people out there who like this movie, I’d like to point out that writer/director Ti West tried to have his name removed from the project. If you spend your time and energy to writing and directing a movie, yet are so unhappy with the changes to the film forced upon it by the financial backers, then for all intents and purposes, I’d say this movie is “bad”. Don’t worry guys, there is ONE pretty cool thing about it!
In the first Cabin Fever, there’s a flesh-eating virus that infects a group of college kids staying in a cabin, and while most of them die, the film ends with one of the diseased kids falling into a local river. We know that these kids caught the disease from the drinking water, so the beginning of this film has an animated sequence showing the infected water being bottled up and distributed to places nearby. One of the places where the drinking water ends up is at a high school prom, so everyone at the prom who drinks the water ends up infected and eventually quarantined by some sort of unknown task force. There’s lots of boils and blisters and blood and gooey stuff, and even though most of the students are killed by the task force, there are a few people who drink the water and manage to make their way to neighboring towns. Through more animation sequences, we learn that the infection is spreading nationally, leaving the story open-ended for future installments. Just what we were waiting for!
Firstly, I’d like to say that some of the special gore effects are pretty good, at least from a technical standpoint. They are gross effects that are pulled off successfully, but the context of them is so pointless that you almost resent those effects being there in the first place. Is that confusing? Let me explain. In the original Cabin Fever, there were a handful of well-executed, disgusting practical effects. These effects took you by surprise, because these effects were just scattered (or should I say splattered?) throughout the entire film, and there was enough of a plot that you didn’t need those effects to be entertained. When the effects were implemented, it was merely to heighten the tension of the plot, as opposed to using a plot to string together the grossest effects you could think of. Whether it was Rider Strong having an intimate moment with Jordan Ladd and realizing he wasn’t touching what he thought he was touching, or, possibly the best effect in the movie, the scene where Cerina Vincent shaves her legs, and, well…you know what happened. Cabin Fever 2, on the other hand, had a pretty boring story, very little plot, and for some reason had animation sequences. Anyone know why those were there? I don’t. It seemed like maybe Ti West thought of a plot, but then the producers remembered the more memorable scenes in the original, and demanded he double the amount of gore and bodily fluids. I’m a big Ti West fan, so it was surprising that he was involved with this movie, but when I found out afterwards he tried to cut any association to it, it was quite a relief. Unfortunately for Cabin Fever 2, it’s yet another movie that suffers from “The opening is so good, that everything after it is terrible by comparison” syndrome.
As previously mentioned, the original Cabin Fever ended with one of the main characters, Paul (Rider Strong) falling into a body of water, followed by a jugband medley of the town’s residents having a party. When Cabin Fever 2 starts up, as a surprise to I assume everyone watching this movie, we see Paul wake up and start wandering away from the river. He is stumbling through the woods, completely aimlessly, but he eventually finds a road. As he’s just sort of spinning and stumbling in one place in the middle of this road, we see a school bus getting closer and closer to him. Considering it’s a wide shot, it’s hard to tell if the bus is slowing down at all, but as it gets closer and closer to Rider, we learn that it’s not slowing down at all, which is why as soon as it makes contact with him, he just completely explodes with blood and guts, and the movie freeze frames to have the title pop up on screen for a few moments, and then the scene resumes with the bus driving through this blood cloud and everything splattering all over the ground. Considering Ti West’s enjoyable opening sequences in all of his other movies, I like to think that this is at least one sequence in which he had control over. Teasing the audience with seeing a character from the previous movie, only to completely explode him in the first few minutes was pretty funny and surprising. If you watch that opening sequence, it’s also a great practical effect that seamlessly blends a shot of Rider Strong standing in the road with the effects shot of a bus hitting something that could release that amount of blood and goop. Guys, don’t get me wrong, I love movies that are excuses to highlight practical effects as much as the next guy, but with how much I enjoyed the original movie, combined with how much I enjoyed this opening sequence and how bland the characters were in this sequel, don’t feel bad shutting this movie off once you get a few minutes into it.