The first of two Cabin Fever sequels, both (supposedly) planned to be released this year, is Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, aka Cabin Fever 3. This is a strange time for such a plan for a franchise that has mixed reviews at best. It has been 11 years since Eli Roth’s original which focused heavily on gruesome horror, but had Roth’s now-famous wickedly off-beat sense of humor running through it. Some people love it, others loathe it….and that’s fine, it’s a weird flick that doesn’t exactly cater to the masses. When Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever came out in 2009, the then unknown Ti West (The House of the Devil), took the film too far into the realm of strange horror/comedy and it failed miserably. So when not one, but two (and in some reaches of the internet, 3) sequels were announced to be on the way, most horror hounds came out of the woodwork to voice their opinion. I knew I had to check it out knowing that it would soon be at the center of many horror geek arguments.
Tonight I sat down to watch Patient Zero with very low expectations. Originally planned as a prequel to the two original films, we were meant to see the origins of the flesh-eating virus. Slightly reworked to sit as a sequel, the plot revolves around friends Marcus, Dobs, Josh and Penny who are visiting a Caribbean island for Marcus’ bachelor party and wedding. That plot thread is inter-woven with one involving a secret laboratory outpost on a tiny island near where the wedding will be. Within the walls of the lab, scientists are working on a cure to the virus which until now has only affected the small groups in the previous films. Their secret weapon is Mr. Porter, played (oddly enough) by Sean Astin. He is “patient zero,” his body is infected with the virus, but he’s completely immune to it. Kept in quarantine against his wishes, the scientists race against the clock to create a vaccine from his blood.
Especially in the early scenes, this film falls into the traps that many recent low-budget horror movies fall into. Poor acting, bad jokes, lame exterior shots and an awful score were all in the mix. As the film progressed, it thankfully started to focus on scares and a decently twisty-turny plot. Not everything worked like the filmmakers had hoped, but I will commend them for trying some new things with a three-quel. The virus is mutating and with it, the story is evolving, maybe not always for the better, but it will keep fans of the franchise on their flesh-eaten toes.
For the most part the make-up effects are top-notch. Following in the footsteps of the original, it’s used for some truly icky and creepy moments. There’s enough skin-tearing, bone-snapping and gut-popping insanity for the whole family. At times they even nailed some good splat-stick jokes. The “Baby, you got so wet.” scene was so hilariously disgusting it actually improved my opinion of the whole movie. Also, keep the words “dildo death” in the back of your mind when deciding whether or not to watch this. Unbelievably this movie actually has a few suspenseful and thrilling sequences. The gross-out moments were winners in my book. If you’re squeamish then you probably won’t putting this on your watch list, but I’ll warn you anyway.
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is not a great movie, it’s barely a good movie, but it was a decently fun horror movie to stay in with on a Monday night. Many will have fun with this, most will want to sweep it under the rug and forget about it. Personally I’m somewhere in the middle with it. I probably won’t watch it again, but it was a better watch than Cabin Fever 2 or a lot of the other dribble I’ve sat through recently.
Filmed back to back with this is Cabin Fever: Outbreak, which is either coming out the end of this year or early 2015. Again, no set date has been released. Outbreak will be a direct sequel to Patient Zero.
Right now the film is having international releases throughout Europe. It will premiere in Canada on May 22, 2014 and will have a summer release in the U.S., no set date has been given as of yet.
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero was directed by Kaare Andrews (who is also helming Outbreak) and stars Mitch Ryan (One Tree Hill), Jillian Murray (Mass Effect 3) and Sean Astin (The Goonies).