Cabin Fever, which was something of a surprise box office indie horror hit, marked an interesting development in horror. At the time of its release, the neo-slasher revival kickstarted by Scream was running dry by the early 2000s. Across the globe, the New French Extremity was about to kick off while Rob Zombie and the Saw franchise were just a couple of years away. Eli Roth made his debut with Cabin Fever – an eccentric horror comedy that played a role in shift horror from relatively safe PG-13 fare to what would eventually be coined ‘Torture Porn‘. Several years after its release, Cabin Fever got a sequel that its director disowned, and most horror fans don’t now exists. And those who know about it don’t seem to like Cabin Fever 2 Spring Fever.
When a flesh-eating virus makes its way into a local water supply, a large water bottling company inadvertently delivers bottles of infected water to a local high school. As the students and school staff gather for the annual high school prom, the virus quickly infects and turns a night traditionally reserved for fun and revelry into a bloody nightmare.
Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever Gets the Flesh-Eating Virus Gore Right
It’s hard to imagine that many people were clamoring for a Cabin Fever sequel. Though Eli Roth has his fans, his work tends to be polarizing. And the original Cabin Fever – which is a fun, gross dark horror comedy – didn’t exactly appeal to mainstream horror fans. Seven years was also a big gap for a sequel to an indie horror flick about a flesh-eating virus. On top of these issues, director Ti West (House of the Devil, The Sacrament, X, Pearl) wanted nothing to do with the final product. If there’s a silver-lining, it’s that Cabin Fever 2 Spring Fever only needed to deliver a few basic things – excessive gore, practical effects, and a wickedly dark sense of humor.
Most importantly, Cabin Fever 2 Spring Fever delivers on the buckets of blood, gross-out practical effects, and decaying body horror.
Maybe the studio butchered West’s original vision but, by and large, Cabin Fever 2 Spring Fever mostly checks off the above prerequisites. From its opening scene where Rider Strong returns – albeit almost unrecognizable under layers of make-up – and gets splattered by a school bus before the opening credits, you know that the sequel at least retains the same dark sense of humor as the original. That final scene in a dive strip and the animated closing credits that follow maintain that sharp-tongued humor. Most importantly, Cabin Fever 2 Spring Fever delivers on the buckets of blood, gross-out practical effects, and decaying body horror. While it lacks the keen style of Brian De Palma’s Carrie, this is still a pretty grotesque high prom.
Cabin Fever 2 Spring Fever Misses Eli Roth’s Offbeat Approach to Dark Humor
Not all the humor in Cabin Fever 2 Spring Fever 2. In fact, there’s really two different movies here, which may explain why West wanted his name off the final print. There’s the dark humor that defined Roth’s original Cabin Fever. Of course, the sequel lacks the idiosyncratic flair Roth brought to his debut effort. But there’s also plenty of sophomoric humor more akin to 80s teen sex romps that feels out of place. Much of the story revolving around ‘buddy’ Rusty Kelley’s ”Alex” – including a borderline misogynistic bathroom stall scene – seems tonally out of place. It’s just the wrong kind of outrageous. And the romance subplot relies a bit too much on the ‘nice guy’ rhetoric that also feels dated by today’s standards.
There’s the dark humor that defined Roth’s original Cabin Fever. Of course, the sequel lacks the idiosyncratic flair Roth brought to his debut effort.
Nevertheless, Cabin Fever 2 Spring Fever benefits from a cast that’s much better than what you would expect from this sort of movie. Only Rider Strong and Giuseppe Andrew’s ‘Deputy Wilson’ return from the original movie. Strong’s appearance amounts to a wickedly fun cameo. Conversely, Giuseppe Andrews – a fun supporting character – gets a bit too much screen time in the sequel. Most of the sequel relies on Noah Segan (Brick, Mohawk) and Alexi Wasser. Segan doesn’t even remotely look like he’s in high school, but he’s still head and shoulders above the material. And there’s at least enough chemistry between Segan and Wasser to invest in the characters.
Cabin Fever 2 Spring Fever an Unnecessary Sequel That Makes For a Fun Diversion
No one’s ever going to accuse Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever of being a ‘good’ movie, let alone a satisfactory follow-up to Eli Roth’s original. And it’s not surprising that Ti West disowned the final cut of the movie. Yet it’s also not a horrible movie by any stretch for what the sequel intends to achieve. On one hand, the sequel maintains the same dark, irreverent tone as the original. Moreover, it delivers buckets of blood and gross-out scenes as fans of Roth’s movie would hope for and expect. No, the ‘teen sex romp’ humor doesn’t work, feeling out of place and more than a bit misogynistic. But if you’re browsing Tubi and looking for a decent B-horror movie, you can do a lot worse than Cabin Fever 2 Spring Fever.