Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (USA, 2009)

"Have you seen my dick?"

Once upon a time, Eli Roth’s debut film Cabin Fever (2002 / trailer) was high on my list of films I wanted to see, but then I saw Roth’s Hostel (2005 / trailer), a totally non-scary and stupid and overtly xenophobic film — Hey! That foreign guy must be evil! He eats salad with his fingers! — and Cabin Fever quickly got deleted from the list. But after Eli Roth’s rather effective acting turn in Inglorious Basterds (2009 / trailer), however, the thought arose to give Cabin Fever a chance. First films are often better than the second, after all.
As the cookie is apt to crumble, however, the sequel Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever fell into my hands first — but then, it ain't like Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever features any plot points that require seeing the preceding film to understand, assuming that you at least know the first flick was about a highly contagious, body-rotting and deadly disease.
The birth of the sequel was anything but an easy one, as any trash-film aficionado is probably aware of from all the reports that have popped up on the web over the years. Ti West, a new shooting star of the American horror film scene who had made some waves with his third film The House of the Devil (2009 / trailer), was pulled in to helm the flick, for which he also supplied the story. Once he finished filming way back in 2007, the powers that be weren't happy with the final product, which they then reshot in parts and re-cut, the end result being that Ti West wanted his directorial credit removed and the film to be credited to good ol' Alan Smithee. But since he was not a member of the Director's Guild, the producers denied his request and released the film as his product, though he himself has completely disowned it. Considering its reception after Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever was finally pulled down off the shelf, dusted and released, the chance of a "Director’s Cut" seems relatively slim...
Probably about as slim as the film's plot, actually: water gets infected by sickness, teens at prom drink water, everyone dies — bloodily, gushingly, hilariously. And interwoven in-between, a rather pointless subplot involving Deputy Winston (Giuseppe Andrews of 2001 Maniacs [2005 / trailer]), the cop from the first film, that may include one or two hearty laughs (the gusher at the restaurant, for example) but only proves itself ever-so-slightly necessary as the dues ex machina required for the film's end-of-days final — and it also serves to make the last bit about the strippers all the more obviously tacked on as an afterthought.
Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever sort of picks up directly after the events of the first film with an infected Paul (Rider Strong of Tooth & Nail [2007 / trailer]) pulling himself out of the water and stumbling onto a road where he promptly explodes when hit by a school bus. A nifty animation credit sequence follows that not only sets the parodist tone of the film that follows but also narrates how the infected water makes its way to the local water bottling plant, is bottled and finally delivered to the school. Some time is spent on the introducing the future infected, and for a change some of them almost look the right age for being in high school; some future dead are more likeable than others, but virtually all of them end up at the high school prom. (Thus making the film's title, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, rather an anachronism: not only does nothing occur in a cabin, but spring is more-or-less over.)
At the prom, all hell breaks loose once the infection sets in just as truckloads of unidentified exterminating governmental agents lockdown the school and begin to eradicate the infected. The film's nominal figures of identification are John (Noah Segan of Brick [2005 / trailer], Deadgirl [2008 / trailer] and All about Evil [2010 / trailer]), his best friend Alex (Rusty Kelley) — who dies dickless — and Cassie (the intriguing-looking Alexi Wasser of Growth [2009 / trailer]), and they run around a lot as they try to avoid both the infected and the exterminators — and deal with their own infection.
The bloodbath of the prom is full of gross-out laughs though the projectile puking does get tiresome, but there are many a mean laugh elsewhere in the film, including a few doozies involving a pissing janitor, a fat chick losing her virginity in a swimming pool, and Alex's shower-not-a-grower dick. As mentioned before, the tacked on stripper scene — though also funny in an uncouth, boundary-pushing way — is rather pointless, but the final animation scene does nicely tie up all the loose threads... but for one totally forgotten one that gets tied after the final credits have rolled.
Neither tension nor intelligence are to be found anywhere in Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, and the film is hardly imperative viewing, but for what it is — a tasteless, below-the-belt, blood-and-guts-heavy parody — it works well enough: there is indeed a lot of viscera and a never-ending stream of tasteless laughs and gross-out scenes. Thus, the flick actually makes for fun viewing, particularly when stoned.

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