Cabin Fever ★★★

Cabin Fever is Eli Roth’s directoral debut, and it’s important to know that going into the movie. Though it doesn’t quite reach the ludicrous levels of gore we’ve come to know and love from the man who gave us Hostel and The Green Inferno, there’s no shortage of Roth’s signature dark comedy throughout (e.g. the last few minutes of the movie are exemplar of this). 

I do love that the film resorts to very few (if any) jumpscares, and the tenseness mostly comes from proper camera work and great background music—essential for any horror film to work. We have the esteemed Angelo Badalamenti (of Twin Peaks fame) to thank for that. It’s also funny that Roth himself makes a brief but essential cameo.

Do note that the tonality also wildly varies from scene to scene; there’s a moment a random kid does a backflip leading into a high-flying karate kick yelling about pancakes, and this comes right in the middle of the climax. Again, I really don’t know how to explain it, but it’s something I entirely anticipated given what I know about Roth and it strangely fits in just fine as far as I’m concerned. 

All in all, it’s kind of kooky, occasionally spooky, and all together just good fun. I’d place this movie somewhere on the spectrum between The Evil Dead, Tucker and Dale vs Evil, and The Cabin In The Woods.