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Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero – 6

Director – Kaare Andrews

Cast – Sean Astin, Currie Graham, Ryan Donowho, Brando Eaton, Jillian Murray, Mitch Ryan, Solly Duran, Lynda Hearst, Claudette Lali

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

The Cabin Fever series has to be one of the genre’s most…for lack of a better word, tacky. After Eli Roth broke onto the horror scene with the initial installment in 2002, the film’s sequel, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, was so riddled with drama and re-shoots that director Ti West disowned it, and the fans did not love it either. Now we have Cabin Fever: Patient Zero – a prequel to the original film that centers on the first outbreak of the messy water-borne disease. Directed by famed comic book artist Kaare Andrews, I had high hopes for him after his awesome entry in the colossal anthology The ABCs of Death, “V is for Vagitus”, which showed he has potential after his previous full length film, Altitude, bombed critically. So how did he do? Well, it’s a mixed bag, just like the series. Now that the franchise has both a sequel and a prequel one can hope that producers will let the series die, but time will tell and I know better than to hold my breath on that.

While enjoying a private Caribbean cruise for Marcus’ bachelor weekend, he and his friends stumble upon an uncharted island where a top secret research facility has just suffered a deadly outbreak of an uncontained flesh-eating virus.

I felt like Cabin Fever did a decent job regarding the origin of the flesh-eating virus. It did not give too much detail but it made the origin obvious enough for the viewer. When I first went into the film I was not sure what to expect with the “Patient Zero” thing, but soon enough I grew to appreciate the idea. The flick begins with Porter, portrayed by Sean Astin, being kept in a secret US government lab against his will. It is made apparent to the viewer that he came across the disease, and despite it killing his family he somehow survived contact and is not only patient zero but could also be the cure as well. Eventually he finds a way to try and spread the virus to those studying him so that he can find a way to escape, and because of the breach of containment the facility is placed on a 48-hour quarantine lockdown. At the same time, Marcus and his friends have been celebrating his bachelor weekend and decide to venture from their yacht and onto the island. Everything is fun and games at first and the coast full of dead fish does little to deter them, but soon enough they begin to see and suffer the effects of the disease. Soon enough, the partying protagonists eventually make their way to the research facility in hopes of finding help, and that is when the two storylines collide and all hell breaks loose. When the two parties meet the horror progresses to extreme levels as the survivors battle and kill the infected in a desperate attempt to get off the island before they contract the virus. Writer Jake Wade Wall, who wrote the creepy Amusement as well as The Hitcher (remake) and When A Stranger Calls (remake), ensured that the utmost in gore and horror was present. While I enjoyed this carnage it was not enough to make up for all of the films faults, which include poor dialogue, a lame antagonist, and characters you never care for aside from maybe Porter.

Kaare Andrews definitely improves on his craft after the abysmal Altitude and while his direction was far from good he did excel where it mattered most – the horror. He relies heavily on practical effects to sell the body-melting scenes and does so in awesome full frontal fashion. The gore reigns heavy and there are enough kills to satisfy those wanting more of what the previous films offer, which seems to be the one consistently strong element the franchise is known for. I enjoyed the look and feel of the flick as well and Andrews’ locations were great for securing that nowhere to run feeling, from both the uncharted island and the quarantined research facility. The tension is pretty good but nowhere near what it could have been given the scenarios our protagonists were placed in, but that can be attributed to the writing as well. As far as faults go I only came across one major fault and that was the poor acting that increased as the film developed. It seems that once conflict, emotion, and tension was added to the mix the acting performances began to suffer as the actors could not keep up with the demands of their characters, and this applied to pretty much every actor but Sean Astin.

Overall, Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is a flawed but sometimes positive sequel that provides good horror, is much darker than its predecessor, and only suffers from faults that most can probably get over. I would not out rightly recommend this one, and that is a very generous 6-rating, but if you are curious to how the virus “got started” this may satisfy that curiosity.

Rating: 6/10

…Additional Stills…

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