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John’s Horror Corner: Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (2014), still fun, but the least impressive flesh-eating virus movie of the franchise.

August 9, 2014

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MY CALL: Although still fun, this was the least impressive flesh-eating virus movie of the franchise. It’s often more than gory and wacky enough to please fans of the franchise though. MOVIES LIKE Cabin Fever: Patient Zero: Cabin Fever (2002), of course it should probably be seen first…okay, it really doesn’t matter. Then Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009). But true lovers of hilariously gory overkill should also hit Evil Dead (2013), The Cabin in the Woods (2012), Final Destination 5 (2011), Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010), Drag Me to Hell (2009), and of course Evil Dead 2 (1987) and The Evil Dead (1981).

A group of friends embark on a Caribbean bachelor party cruise and come across a remote island research facility and they are exposed to a deadly, flesh-eating virus during a gore-chummed snorkeling expedition.

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Simultaneously we switch back and forth with a parallel plot in which researchers have isolated “patient zero” (Sean Astin; The Strain, The Goonies, Lord of the Rings)–the carrier of the original strain of this horrible virus that blessed us with this franchise–moved him to an island lab (yes, that lab) for study and… we’ll just say things get out of hand inside their research facility as well. So we have two simultaneous infections occurring on this normally sleepy, sunny island.

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Is it just me? Or has Mr. Samwise been creating an awful lot of apocalypse-plague shenanigans recently? In The Strain he helps the Nazi vampires spread the Nazi vampire zombiism worm virus. Here, HE is patient zero!

If you’ve seen any of these movies, you’ve sort of seen them all. But let’s be clear here, director Kaare Andrews (The ABCs of Death – V is for Vagitus, Altitude) delivers extravagant levels of gore consistent with the franchise. After exposure our early infected cast members have a rash which quickly shifts to symptoms of blisters and…worse.

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More advanced victims practically melt away and projectile vomit liquefied gore into the faces of the yet uninfected. Skin sloughs off of bodies, pus erupts from bloated flesh, and–perhaps the most flawed aspect of this sequel–victims eventually become almost zombie-like. Also, like its predecessors, it uses a sex scene to set the tone of the urgency…because after all, and I can’t speak for everyone here, but when my girlfriend’s body is covered with festering sores the first place y mind goes to isthen we should probably have sex!

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“So while we wait for medical care how should we pass the time?”

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“Guess what, bro? Her STD test results just came in…she tested positive!”

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Perhaps this is all just to teach younger viewers that sex might just catch you something deadly. Oh, and bonus, there’s also a flesh-ripping zombie girl catfight.

Part one of this franchise succeeded with a rather serious tone, part two was basically slapstick and goretastically hilarious, and this third installment attempts to re-secure a sense of fear and urgency as the infection advances while maintaining some playful silliness (e.g., having your softened, flesh-eaten skull crushed by a giant dildo).

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In my opinion the urgency is long missed and, while this movie is entertaining for the sake of the gore and some most welcomed wackiness, the overall Cabin Fever experience doesn’t measure up strongly to the first two and is, in fact, ranking far below either of them in quality.

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The nigh-zombiism of the infected left me feeling a bit derailed and the plot (revolving around getting off the island) degenerates down a dumb path. But kudos for not just “redoing” the movie and “calling” it a sequel as we often see in the horror genre. At least a solid effort was made to make this installment feel different from the others. In that respect, the entire franchise is successful.

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I must say I was entertained, though. This flick was a lot of fun and any film featuring a bludgeoning death-by-dildo scene deserves some attention from gorehound goofballs.

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