For no apparent reason, we now get a remake of Cabin Fever. Why, other than that Eli Roth and co-writer Randy Pearlstein probably took advantage of some producers offer to recycle their script for a whole bunch of money, could be anybodys guess. It has only been fourteen years since the first film came out it is usually at least 2-3 decades before we start to see remakes (not counting English-language remakes of foreign films) and people feel confident that the original has been around in tv re-runs long enough that a new generation of 19-25-year-olds are going to appreciate seeing it recast with new faces.
While Eli Roth and Randy Pearlstein have simply recycled their screenplay for the original, a number of changes have come in. Perhaps most notably, the film is no longer a horror comedy and all the genre in-jokes have been cut. Either director Travis Z is unattuned to these elements, lacks a horror background or orders have come down from above. Whatever the case, the sarcastic horror comedy element that was essentially the making of the original Cabin Fever is gone and without it we only have a standard twentysomethings in a cabin in the woods film. What this results in is a Cabin Fever where the students are earnestly cool hipsters, obsessed with beer and making out, while bland pop songs play on the soundtrack.
One of the worst changes is Dustin Ingrams Bert who is made into a major idiot who has brought along a semi-automatic rifle as opposed to a single-action gun and is obsessed with randomly blasting everything he comes across with entire clips of ammo. Another of the worst aspects is the recasting of Giuseppe Andrews Deputy Winston with a woman in the role. Andrews hilarious performance was one of the best aspects of the original, whereas Louise Linton adds nothing in fact, her leering innuendo when we first meet her makes for something that is positively awful.
If Cabin Fever 2016 were made on its own terms, one supposes it would not have been too bad. Travis Z does a passable job directing, while some aspects like the photography are reasonable. The remake seems to have been made on a much better budget and there are certainly some good makeup effects representing the meltdowns. Once these kick in in the latter half, the film does attain a certain grimness. It is just that the shadow of the original casts a huge disappointment over the exercise.