Eli Roth wrote the script for Cabin Fever with two major plans in mind: 1) To use his love for his favorite movies which includes Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead (1981), Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left (1972) and use thier unique qualities in his own film. 2) To make a remorseless violent film that will leave all the wimpy PG13 horror movies in shameful dust. Incorporating the campy paranoia of The Evil Dead with the hillbilly backroots feel of The Texas Chainsaw Masscare along with the not-as-it-seems plot feel of The Last House on the Left with a gore level and body count that makes it impossible to get attacked to any character. By achieving all of its assigned goals you would expect Cabin Fever to become a modern horror classic, but it doesn't.
There are many qualities that horror films possess that have become so common that in order to truly enjoy them you must overlook. With very high body counts it is very difficult, and many times even impossible, to reach any emotional attachment. Using viruses/diseases to easily create candidates for high body counts is a popular tactic also. Cabin Fever is Eli Roth's way of parodying all horror movies he dislikes while also making a tribute to the ones he loves. By doing that he makes his film into a very busy expressway with nothing really moving.
One thing I will give this film credit for is being able to be so outrageous, so flawed, and so dumb that it is surpisingly fun and very entertaining at times. With much emphasis put on the words "at times." I laughed at times, I enjoyed the gore at times. I was bored many times, I didn't find the slapstick humor funny many times, and I wondered how much longer till it ended many times.
A scene where the gore is exessively fun, along with the humor funny is a scene where a group of hillbilly bounty hunters come to kill the infected kids after news of the disease has spread all throughout their community. Only Paul and infected Burt are in the cabin. Hot-headed Burt decides to play the hero and is killed, but not before he takes out one of the hunters. Alas, it is wimpy sensitive Paul who kills the remaining hunters in a gloriously gory shootout.What amazes me is that a film so determined to make fun of the horror movies that seem afraid to dish out a good serving of blood and gore allows so much time to go by between gore spurts. Taking its sweet time to show how the kids try to deal with the disease that is spreading the real gory dumb fun point is forgotten and I lost almost all of my interest with still 20 minutes left to go, until the obviously ironic and bitterly humorous ending.
Cabin Fever was Eli Roth's attempt to make fun of the horror movie cliches with his own violent style. There is no doubting he has style, but excessive gore can only go so far, and in the process of making fun of the unorginal bloodless horror films he ends up going down their path. But like all weird overly violent horor movies Cabin Fever is sure to develop a following, so all wasn't lost.