Ti West is quickly rising to be one of the best of the genre. With his throwback to suspenseful 80s Horror in "The House Of The Devil" he garnered a lot of attention and its only fitting that his next feature (that was ironically made before) would also be a throwback in "Cabin Fever 2". Of course, his style pretty much is what makes this film watchable in most ways and keeps it afloat despite a fairly bland and generic story and characters.
"Cabin Fever 2" follows the spread of the flesh eating virus in the first as the water supply that was infected is fed into a bottling company and giving out in the punch at a Prom for a local high school. Our hero and his friend, whilst battling cliche high school dramas and girl issues, suddenly find themselves in the middle of a contagious slaughter as the government steps in to remedy the situation. The fight to survive is on!
We have seen plenty of viral outbreak films of this general concept in the last couple of decades and honestly we have seen enough high school pseudo-comedy dramas to last a fucking lifetime. So "Cabin Fever 2" is already skating on some thin ice with just its story and concept. Not helping it at all is the fact that the characters run you gauntlet of average teenage characters that aren't quirky enough to impress all that much but not true enough in their seriousness to make me a believer in their cause. With some hit or miss acting from everyone involved, this film is lucky to be existing at all.
Honestly there are two reasons that this film is even getting any kind of positive attention. Firstly, the tongue in cheek approach to the idea was a smart move. At times it runs parallel to being a parody of the films that it feels far too similar too. The quirky humor of some of the characters and general storytelling process saves it sometimes. Not all the time (the odd animated credits at the beginning and animated ending made me scratch the old scalp rather than being all that charming as it was intended), but during the film the off beat humor made some scenes bearable rather than burdening. It's a saving grace that works more often than not.
The second aspect that saves this film from sinking in the ice, is our lovable director Ti West. If it wasn't for his old school campy 80s throwback vibe for the film and visual prowess for vamping the style of the film than this sucker would be at the bottom of the pond trying to find the hole it fell through. Gory to beat hell, with enough of a sense to not show everything and show the things one would not expect, Ti West knows what this film actually is and plays it to its strengths most of the time. The faceless government quarantine team, the general look and ridiculousness of the side characters, and its atmosphere can all be given to the eye of West. He is this films savior and deserves quite a bit of credit for taking such a cliche story and making something from it.
"Cabin Fever 2" may not be the sequel I was expecting, both as a disappointment and a surprising value that West gave it, but its a fun romp that is worth at least one watch. If you can't stand gore or ridiculous 80s cheese than you might want to skip it. Otherwise, put on your best (and most fucked up) bloody prom outfit and let's dance!
Written By Matt Reifschneider