Review: “Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever” (2010)

cabinfever2armBelieve it or not, I give this needless sequel a hand

If you had asked me yesterday what overrated horror movie from the last 10 years least merited a sequel, I would probably have answered Saw. And then maybe Rob Zombie’s Halloween. Okay, then probably Paranormal Activity.

But eventually I would have remembered, in a fit of eye-rolling certain to set any optometrist worth his saline on edge, the shizzagna that was Eli Roth‘s frat-happy dud of a gore comedy, Cabin Fever.

So color me shit-pickled that the long-delayed sequel is actually kind of a blast. In fact, it’s mostly an improvement on the original and offers plenty for a dyed-in-the-wool high school horror fan like myself.

Disco prom, anyone?

cabinfever2prom“Prom Night … Everything is alright except that it’s really not …”

Picking up moments after the first movie left off, Spring Fever starts off with the presumed-dead Paul (Rider Strong) stumbling out of the tainted creek and through the woods (leaving bits of hisself on various branches along the way), only to be smashed to a pulp by an oncoming schoolbus. It’s quite an audacious start and a clue to the sick sense of humor that ultimately sets the film apart from its predecessor, which was disappointingly one-note.

Anyway, the splattered remains are picked over by Deputy Winston (Giuseppe Andrews, who – despite Strong’s top billing – is the only real returning character), who remembers the nasty goings-on from the original and sets to figuring out how to either stop the virus from spreading or get the fuck outta dodge.

Meanwhile, the tainted water has reached a bottling plant and bottled water has been delivered to the local high school, for reasons unimaginable to me, seeing as how I didn’t even know that bottled water existed until I was in my 20s. Why on earth is a high school in North Carolina wasting money on bottled water? Oh, right – to serve the plot. Which is, you know, fine.

cabinfever2poster

Over at the school, John (Noah Segan, of Deadgirl and the ubergay Dorian Gray where he played opposite the kid from Seventh Heaven) is pining for Cassie, with the help of his standard-issue chubby perv bestie, Alex. But before things get too touchy-feely, the virus breaks out in the school, culminating in the bloodiest prom since Carrie White served up her dirty pillows to The Greatest American Hero.

The plot of Spring Fever is even thinner than that of the original, but what it might lack in story it more than makes up for in sheer nuts. First and foremost, this movie is disgusting: it’s filled with some of the most hideous, open-sored, welt-faced characters I’ve ever seen … and that’s before the virus hits!

Yes, Spring Fever has the nerve to show the ugly truth of high school: That pretty much everyone is a walking petri dish. There’s acne everywhere, STDs, pus (and other body fluids, in one particularly shocking scene), and more, so when the real ooziness starts to kick off it’s hard to tell if things are getting worse or it’s just business-as-usual for the Proactiv set.

Eventually, though, things go way beyond Clearasil Bad and it’s a pretty wonderful sight to behold: Blood vomits, miscarriages, severed limbs and smashed heads are just a few of the delights on this prom’s buffet. Any movie with a blood-spattered disco ball, in my mind, has its heart in the right place.

cabinfever2girlShe won’t be home by midnight, so she probably won’t be coming home at all.

But that’s just the beginning. Director Ti West (who, after publicly disowning this project, followed it up with the wonderfully assured House of the Devil) clearly loves his teen horror, as evidenced by the fact that the entire prom climax is an homage not just to Carrie but also to the slasher classic Prom Night, whose disco theme song he borrows for a musical montage here. And what’s more, he has them play Sparks at the dance! Why couldn’t I go to a high school that played Sparks at prom? The best I got was a Humpty Dance.

Granted, some of the bits fall pretty flat, particularly those in the Twin Peaks-loving side plot involving Deputy Winston (everything from the score to the diner scene to the schoolbus full of screaming kids screams “Fire Walk With Me, mmmokay?”). Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock and Wet Hot American Summer puts in a dutiful cameo as another flavor of his standard shlub character, and there’s a fun gore bit involving Larry Fessenden, but otherwise it’s pretty much filler.

Which is odd, because even with the incredibly lame opening and closing animated sequences (which must have been tacked on later, no?) and preposterous final scene (which has almost nothing to do with the movie, which has clearly already ended by this point) the flick is still only about 85 minutes long, making me wonder if the production just ran out of money or if there was something else going on here. Considering how long it took this movie to get pooped out on DVD, I’m guessing it’s the latter.

Oh, and did I mention that the school principal is gay? For no reason, really – he’s a standard somewhat prickish principal but he wears a single earring in his right ear and we see him at home nuzzling with his leather bear partner. Things don’t end up any better for him than they do for anyone else, but it’s worth noting that there are no jokes made at the expense of his sexuality whatsoever, which is pretty rare. In fact, West seems to revel in subverting teen horror stereotypes here (the fat girl gets laid unironically, the only full-frontal moment is a pickle oozing pus and blood), which is a refreshing change.

In all, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (wouldn’t “Dance Fever” have been better?) is a pleasantly gooey surprise and one that’s definitely worth checking out. Oh, and apropos of nothing, immediately after watching this movie I saw a York Peppermint Patty commercial starring Alexi Wasser (who plays the Lisa Kudrow-esque Cassie), only with black hair.  Now that’s kismet. Minty, chocolate-dipped kismet.

RATING (OUT OF 5):

ReviewThreeSkully

Cabin Fever 2: Dance Fever! is UNRATED and contains scenes of gratuitous hillbillyness, graphic acne and full-frontal dickcheese.

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Buzz created CampBlood.org in 2003 to meet a need for a safe place for weirdos of all stripes to discuss horror movies from a queer perspective. Now that the campers have overtaken the Camp staff and locked them in the Arts & Crafts cabin he is questioning that decision.