Written by: Daniel Hadley
Directed by: Kaare Andrews
Cast: Sean Astin, Currie Graham, Ryan Donowho
I’m of two minds about the Cabin Fever series. The first was entertaining enough, though the writing was terrible and I hated every character in it, though that might have been the point, as it was fun to see them fall to pieces on screen. The second movie was much more enjoyable and had some decent characters, but it was marred by a terrible ending which was due in most part to studio interference and director Ti West not being able to make the movie he wanted. Both movies had their good and bad points. The third in the series is everything I hated about the first and nothing I liked about the second. At least I made up my mind.
The movie opens with Sean Astin aka patient zero being dragged off to a secret research facility on a tropical island due to his unexplained immunity to the flesh eating virus. Then we shift focus to a group of young good looking stereo types who are headed to the same tropical island to do some partying, and from here we switch back and forth from Sean Austin and a team of scientists trying to develop a cure from his blood to the party goers getting infected and falling to pieces. Then the two groups meet and more people fall to pieces before we get to an ending that, while not as bad as Cabin Fever 2, is still pretty bad.
The scenes with Sean Astin’s character Porter are the best parts of the film, although if my son had been slowly eaten alive in my arms, and everyone around me was reduced to mulch I think I would be a little disturbed. Porter seems kind of cool with it and for some reason he spends the majority of the movie hindering the scientist’s efforts the find a cure. I suppose it’s not that surprising, as the head scientist is a total dick, but if I was in his situation I think I’d just let the scientists do their jobs. I mean helping develop a cure for what is unquestionably the deadliest disease known to man can’t be that bad. But for whatever reason Porter just kind of wants to kill everybody. It might make some sense if we were given some history on his character. For all we know he could have been a serial killer or maybe a megalomaniacal terrorist bent on total control of humanity for fear of him unleashing his terrible disease on the world or you know what ever. His actions don’t really make much sense in the scheme of things, nor do the scientists’ for that matter. Each one of them seems to be working against the other and again it’s for reasons we’re not really privy to. As senseless as all this was to me, I enjoyed these characters a lot more than the other group.
So moving on to the other group of characters. While I didn’t hate them, they are just your typical horror movie fodder and we’re given very little reason to care when they start slowly falling apart. But I will say that effects used to make said characters fall apart are very well done indeed. It’s not every day you get to see the recoil of a gun rip a guy’s arm off at the elbow, the gun then impaling him through the face. Another highlight is a cat fight in which we see two women quite literally rip into each other. The gore is the real highlight and I wish as much thought went into the story and characters as went into the gore effects.
The one thing that the other two Cabin Fever movies have over this one was their tone. While the idea of a virus slowly eating people alive isn’t pleasant, the first two movies came at it with a slight comedic approach and never took themselves too seriously. Patient Zero however takes itself far too seriously and as a result it’s just kind of unpleasant. Like I said, seeing this virus take its toll on someone isn’t a nice thing to see, so we’re left with scene after scene of some poor soul slowly dying as they cry and weep in absolute agony. Does that sound like something you’d want to see?
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, while not without its bright spots, sinks slowly into a sea of unpleasantness and lingers too long on bland boring characters when a much more interesting group are relegated to bit players. If you’re a fan of the series give it a shot, if not I doubt it will do anything to sway your opinion.