Cabin Fever Eli Roth

Cabin Fever Eli Roth
When this horror homage premiered at the Toronto film festival a year-and-a-half ago, it was immediately heralded for the very thing that should have vilified it: its by-the-numbers adherence to the old teenagers trapped in a remote place with all sorts of gooey, gross things going on. But writer/director Eli Roth was obviously such a fan of the genre that brought us classics like Last House on the Left, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Evil Dead that he knew what it was in those films that worked, what didn't and how to make an honest to goodness horror film that wasn't a parody yet wasn't corny. It's an incredibly fine line but Roth managed to do what so many other directors have not. The film strands five unsuspecting young-uns at a remote cottage in the woods where a mysterious flesh eating disease threatens to kill them one by one. But while searching for help, their paranoia begins to get the better of them and the disease itself becomes almost secondary. Not satisfied with just delivering the film in a gorgeous 2.35:1 widescreen transfer with ingenious animated menus, there are fittingly hilarious gems thrown in, like the 30-minute "making of" and alternate versions of the movie, such as the "family friendly" one that removes all the gross or scary scenes and runs about 40 seconds and the "Chick Vision" one that blanks out the parts deemed too intense for women. Throw in five, yes five, feature-length commentary tracks and a silly little vignette featuring the film's creepiest character — a mute, blond mullet-sporting kid named Dennis — doing a martial arts routine to the strains of Electric Six's "Gay Bar" and you have as complete a package as you could ever want. Plus: three shorts by Roth featuring the claymation band Rotten Fruit. (Lions Gate)