Discover more from Horror Bulletin
All four of the Cabin Fever films, You Won’t Be Alone, and We Need to Talk About Kevin
Weekly Horror Bulletin Combined Newsletter 202
We’re mixing things up this week. Instead of having one email for our “regular” reviews that appear on HorrorGuys.com and the podcast and another for two or three bonus reviews, we’re just going to start sending out one big email with everything. That’ll cut your emails in half and hopefully make your life easier! If you have a comment one way or the other on the idea, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know your thoughts.
Thanks for reading Horror Bulletin! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
We've got six more horror films this week. We'll take a cheerful vacation to the mountains in “Cabin Fever” from 2002. We’ll then go to prom in “Cabin Fever 2” from 2009 and take a nice break on a tropical beach in “Cabin Fever 3” from 2014. Then we’ll waste everyone’s time with the pointless 2016 remake of the original. Then we’ll look at “You Won’t Be Alone” from 2022 and “We Need to Talk About Kevin” from 2011
Three years ago this week...
THREE YEARS AGO this week, on episode 49, we looked at “The Invisible Ray, The Abominable Snowman, The Bunny Game, and The Killer Toon.” Listen to that old episode here: https://www.horrorguys.com/hg049/.
New Book: The Horror Films of Roger Corman
We do the usual “Horror Guys Treatment” for all the horror films directed by Roger Corman from 1954 up to 1990. Included are 29 full-length films that truly count as horror. In addition, we’ll look at seven other noteworthy Corman movies that aren’t horror, including his first producing credit, his first directing credit, his favorite non-horror project, and a few others. If you love Roger Corman’s macabre masterpieces, we’ll cover all of them here.
• Buy from Amazon: Amazon.com
• Buy Direct: https://horrorguysshop.com/
Fifteenth Issue of Horror Bulletin now available
The newest issue of Horror Bulletin Monthly, our monthly compilation of all our reviews, is out now. This includes all the bonus content and is available as both a print book and an ebook. If you don’t have time to read the website or email, here’s one more option for you!
• Buy from Amazon: Amazon.com
• Buy Direct: https://horrorguysshop.com/
Check out all our books!
The Horror Guys Guide to:
• Tales to Make You Shiver, Volumes 1 and 2
Here. We. Go!
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
• Directed by Lynne Ramsay
• Written by Lynne Ramsay, Rory Stewart Kinnear, Lionel Shriver
• Stars Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 52 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s a straightforward and simple story, more of a psychological drama than strictly horror. An excellent cast, well-written script, and the way it’s filmed, jumping back and forth in time, boosts it up to something really interesting. Right away, it’s apparent something bad happened. We gradually find out just how bad.
We see Eva in the middle of a giant tomato-paste orgy. OK, it’s really a tomato festival in Europe. She wakes up, and it’s really just in a messy house. She goes outside, and the front of the house is covered in red paint— so is her car.
We cut to an earlier time when Eva’s daughter has an eyepatch, and teenage Kevin gets ready for school. Her husband Franklin is there too. We cut to Eva coming home from work to find something awful has happened.
Eva cleans off her windshield and goes to a travel agency. People stare at her wherever she goes, and she doesn’t like it. She’s at the travel agency to apply for a secretarial position. The woman there says she doesn’t care what Eva’s done or who she is; she can have the job. On the way out, a woman hits her in the face and tells her she hopes she goes to Hell.
She dreams of her and Franklin dating and being happy. Before long, a baby is on the way. She doesn’t seem very happy about the baby because he cries endlessly. She literally pauses on the street next to a jackhammer to get a moment of comparative peace.
She drives to the prison and visits someone there. Someone is really creepy, but we don’t see them. She’s clearly hated by all the neighbors who watch her try to remove the paint from the front of the house. We start to get flashes of what the bad thing was that happened when Eva avoids a woman in the grocery store.
We flashback to baby Kevin, who should be ready to start talking. He doesn’t speak at all, but there’s nothing wrong with his hearing. The doctors say there’s nothing wrong with him— he’s not autistic. We soon see that it’s Kevin who’s in prison.
We get more flashbacks that show us that Kevin and Eva don’t get along at all, but Franklin and Kevin get along just fine. Franklin finds them a huge house in the suburbs, but Eva didn’t want to leave the city. She decorates her room with maps, and Kevin shoots paint all over them. Franklin tries to keep the peace, but Eva’s not having any of that. Kevin really hates Eva, and it’s pretty clear that it goes both ways. He still wears diapers at age six just so she has to clean him up.
Little Kevin gets more and more manipulative and controlling of his mother. He’s a little monster for her, but he’s perfectly normal towards his father. No one sees how he is other than Eva. Eva eventually gets pregnant again, and Kevin is not pleased. Suddenly, Kevin starts being nice to Eva.
Franklin gets Kevin an archery set, and he’s a surprisingly good shot. As he becomes a teenager, he gets even better.
Back in the present, Eva’s travel office has a Christmas party, and co-worker Colin wants to dance with Eva. When she says no, he’s unexpectedly cruel.
We see many more instances of Kevin being a jerk. “There is no point; that’s the point.” Kevin’s still into archery and gets a new bow for Christmas. Celia, the daughter, gets a Guinea Pig which soon goes missing. Eva finds something red and nasty is in the kitchen drain. Ew! She uses drain cleaner to get the remains of the Guinea Pig out of the drain, and soon Celia is injured by the drain cleaner. When Eva blames Kevin, Franklin says he’s had enough of her insanity and wants a divorce. Celia is going to need a glass eye.
Kevin gets a package in the mail, and Eva opens it. It’s a bunch of heavy-duty bicycle locks. He says he’s going to resell them at school for a profit, and Franklin thinks that’s great.
The next day at work, someone barges into Eva’s office and asks if Kevin goes to Gladstone High. We see that Kevin has used those locks to seal up all the doors in the school and then go on a killing spree with his bow. Eva rushes to the school, and when she sees firemen cutting those bicycle locks off the doors, she knows what has happened. The doors open, and Kevin comes out and surrenders himself to the police.
Eva drives home after all this to find Franklin and Celia out in the backyard, both shot to death with arrows.
Today, Eva finally has gotten all the red paint off the house; she’s worked on that on and off throughout the film. She goes to see Kevin in prison again. It’s been two years, and she wants to know why. He says he isn’t sure.
Tilda Swinton, as Eva, is tight-lipped, desperate, and angry-looking throughout, as if she’s just about ready to explode at any time. She’s clearly a little sociopathic herself. She and Kevin are more alike than either of them would like to admit.
All three of the Kevin actors are psychotic little monsters— perfect casting! John C. Reilly is a normal guy caught between the two main characters.
You know from the beginning that something really bad is going to happen, but we don’t understand all the details until toward the end. It’s a sort of “Bad Seed” updated for modern times. I’m not quite sure why Eva didn’t just leave town afterward, since everyone there knew and hated her for her involvement in the mass killing.
Ah well. Kids are evil.
You Won't Be Alone (2022)
• Directed by Goran Stolevski
• Written by Goran Stolevski
• Stars Noomi Rapace, Alice Englert, Anamaria Marinca
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 48 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s a story of witchery that takes a little while to get going. Once it does, it’s really pretty great. Long ago and far away, strange things happened in the mountains. Subtitled, and well worth the read.
A bunch of kids plays hide-and-seek in a woman’s house, and she gets angry and runs them all out. The woman has a crying baby and lives alone. She turns around, and there’s a naked, ugly witch there. The witch doesn’t care about children; she only wants the baby’s blood. The witch is “Old Maid Maria.” The woman asks Maria to spare her child and offers her up when she turns sixteen; then, she’ll serve the witch. The witch is intrigued. She can’t leave the baby unmarked, so she cuts the baby’s vocal cords before leaving. Later, the witch watches from the woods as the mother leaves the baby in the holy cave and screams to everyone that a wolf-eater took her baby. Credits roll.
Years pass, and the baby grows into a teenager, but she’s still in the cave. Her mother comes in to care for her, and the girl can’t speak because the witch stole her voice. Still, we can hear her thoughts through voiceover narration. The girl wants to leave, but her mother claims that the monsters out there would tear her to pieces.
A big bird flies in, and that causes more drama from the mother, although the girl is fascinated. The mother attacks the bird, the bird fights back, and then the mother, who now acts completely differently, leads the girl outside for the first time. The girl sees trees and cows. Mother scratches the girl and then spits cow blood into the wound— some bonding ritual. We soon realize that mother is really Maria the witch now, coming to collect what was promised.
The girl, Billiana, realizes the witch has killed her mother but goes along with things anyway, as she’s fascinated by all the outdoor things. Billiana’s fingernails grow into claws, and she eats raw animals; she’s a witch, too.
Eventually, she comes across a man out in the woods. The man tries to hit old Maria with his ax, but she messes him up pretty badly. Maria teaches her to drink blood, “I chose you,” she says. The two argue back and forth about various things, and Maria abandons her adopted daughter. She turns into a wolf and runs away.
Billiana hears screaming and watches a woman give birth in a cornfield and then goes back to work. Billiana and the woman fight, and the woman is killed. Billiana drinks her blood, and she likes it a lot. But then she transforms into the dead woman, just like when the witch killed her mother. Except this woman has a husband and mother-in-law.
She learns from them how normal people live. They wonder why she can’t speak anymore since she used to be perfectly normal. She gets smacked around regularly by her husband, Boris, but she won’t cry; she does learn to laugh. She learns to serve and obey her husband.
Old Maria reappears and says that Billiana has chosen a new kind of prison to replace her old one. She warns that the regular people will soon tear her to shreds. Boris tries to have sex with Billiana, but something goes horribly wrong, and he dies. She then turns into her former self and goes back into the woods.
She kills and eats a dog and becomes the dog; she goes back to the village and follows the men around. She spots a boy that she likes, and when she turns back into a girl, she tempts him into following her back into the woods. He’s not at all concerned by her big scary claws. He pulls her to the ground and rapes her, which also goes badly for him. Something down there between her legs keeps eating men.
This time, she becomes the man, and he learns to work in the fields. He likes it, and no one seems to notice that he’s suddenly acting weird and playing with dolls. Until they do, then it’s time for an exorcism. Maria comes by and taunts him that he’s “dressed in corpses.” Eventually, a local woman pulls him into a barn and jumps on top of him for sex. He doesn’t eat her. Instead, he has a good time.
A little girl falls off a cliff and dies; the young man goes over to check out the body and becomes the little girl. She really likes being a child.
An old woman in the village tells the story of Old Maid Maria. We get a flashback to a woman who couldn’t get a husband; she asks a witch to help her, and the witch makes her like she is. She ends up being forced into having sex with a dying man so his seed won’t go to waste, which is not at all what she had in mind. Sure enough, she gets the plague from him.
She kills a cow and drinks its blood, but that doesn’t help; she’s dying. They burn her at the stake, which looks like it hurts quite a lot. Still, though, she doesn’t die, which is why Maria is so burn-scarred. Billiana, still the little girl, now knows the whole story. She grows up in this body.
She eventually decides she likes Yovan, a boy she grew up with. Maria shows up and warns that he’ll figure things out too. She eventually marries Yovan. Maria watches the celebrations from the woods. On their wedding night, it’s time for— uh-oh. She’s really in love this time; will it make a difference?
No. The claws come out, and she reverts to her real self, but Yovan doesn’t seem to mind. Before long, there’s a baby on the way. She later finds him dead in the barn. Did she do that? No, Maria did it. There’s a funeral, and someone blames the young bride.
Time passes, and the baby arrives. Billiana immediately shuts all the windows and gets really protective. It’s not enough. One day, she catches Old Maid Maria in the room with the baby. Maria cuts the baby’s vocal cords, just like she did to her so long ago. Billiana uses her claws to disembowel the old woman.
I was immediately reminded of “Hagazussa” (2018). It’s got very much the same vibe and style, with a woman living in the wilderness alone with the witches. In this one, however, there’s no doubt about who’s a witch and who’s not. It’s more about body-swapping and seeing things from other people’s perspectives. It’s got great scenery and sets, the costumes are good, the acting is fine, and it’s all very unusual.
There’s absolutely no real action here; it’s just her living one life after another and getting into trouble. We know from the start that she’s pretty much doomed or cursed, but she still hopes to get out of it.
2002 Cabin Fever
• Directed by Eli Roth
• Written by Eli Roth
• Stars Jordan Ladd, Rider Strong, James DaBello, Cerina Vincent
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 33 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
Lots of gore and lots of humor. It follows a familiar formula of a group of attractive horny young people in an isolated location, and it’s a horror movie so you know bad things will happen. Who, if any, will survive? But it’s really well done.
We hear many flies having a frenzy as the credits roll. We return with a trapper carrying a rabbit and a snare. He brings the rabbit to his dog, but he finds that it’s dead. Not just dead, but rotted open.
We cut to annoying college kids in a pickup. Guess who’s going to die in this film? They all drive out to the country and stop at a general store, where a creepy silent kid bites Paul. “Everyone knows not to sit next to Dennis!” Shouts the proprietor.
Paul goes around back to wash his hand in the stream and runs into a couple of very friendly dogs. The old man inside is really friendly, but he warns them against going too deep into the woods. He’s super nice, and when he gets suddenly racist, it’s a bit of a shock.
There’s some debate on the washed-out road, but eventually, they get to the lonely, isolated cabin in the woods. It’s all very rustic, but it’s really nice inside.
Jeff and Marcy get to having sex straight away. Bert goes squirrel hunting. Paul and Karen go swimming in the lake; Paul gets to stay in the friend zone for a few more minutes.
Bert shoots the trapper by mistake, but the trapper is really sick and needs help. When the trapper advances on Bert, he shoots him again. That night at the campfire, Paul tells a story about a guy who murdered an entire bowling alley staff, one by one.
A guy and his dog come out of the woods and wants to share his weed with them. His name is Justin, but he goes by Grim, his “skating name.” Jeff and Bert challenge each other to only drink beer for the rest of the weekend.
Later that night, Jeff opens the door and finds the even-more-sick trapper out there. He points to Bert and says, “He shot me.” The trapper gets in their car and coughs up blood everywhere. Eventually, they set him on fire, and he runs away. That’s pretty much a downer for the rest of the evening.
The next morning, we see the dead trapper floating in the lake right next to the water supply intake for the cabin. Bert and Jeff walk for help while Marcy takes off walking in another direction. Paul and Karen are both still upset over last night’s disaster.
Bert and Jeff find a nearby farm where they see a woman beating the hell out of a suspended pig. The pig died from some infection. They see cousin Henry’s photo on the counter; he’s the hermit/trapper they killed.
Marcy takes a canoe across the lake and finds a deserted farmhouse. Not deserted— Jeff and Bert are there eating all the people’s food.
Deputy Winston comes to the door and talks to Paul about what happened last night. He doesn’t even notice all the blood on the car— it’s literally dripping. Winston promises to get a mechanic up here to fix it in the morning.
Grim’s dog comes to the cabin without Grim. What might have happened to him? Karen hasn’t left her room all day, but we see her conspicuously drinking the water. Paul decides to make a move on the sleeping Karen, putting his hand down her pants. His hand comes up bloody and nasty, and so are her lower regions. Karen’s got whatever Henry the trapper had.
The four healthy people freak out over this horrible disease that Karen’s caught and make her move out into the nearby woodshed. Karen wants to go home.
The next morning, Bert gets the Jeep running, but Karen is in no shape to move. They try anyway, but soon Bert starts coughing up blood, and so does Karen. Bert takes the truck and leaves the rest of them at the cabin.
Jeff, the germophobe, grabs a couple of cases of beer and marches off into the woods alone. Marcy says they’re all gonna die anyway, so she may as well have sex with Paul. Paul has no objections. We soon see that Marcy is infected.
Bert gets to the general store, and Dennis the biter does some martial arts moves while screaming, “Pancakes!” Then he bites Bert again. His father, the store’s owner, runs Bert off. His friends chase after Bert with guns blazing.
Paul accidentally goes swimming with the dead trapper’s badly decomposed body and notices the drinking water comes from there. Meanwhile, Marcy takes a bath and shaves her legs, which goes badly for her. She runs outside, covered in blood, and Grim’s dog tears her apart. Paul finds this and also checks in on Karen, who hasn’t died but would probably be better off if she had. He thinks so, too, as he beats her to death with a pick.
The three armed men from the store track Bert back to the cabin. In the ensuing battle, everyone dies except Paul. He locks the surviving gunman in the cellar and looks for Jeff. He finds about half of Grim in a cave and runs away.
Paul finds the shooter’s truck and drives away, which works well until he hits a very lively deer. He staggers out of the woods into one of Deputy Winston’s parties. Winston forgot all about the tow truck. The sheriff calls Winston and tells him to shoot the cabin kids on sight. Paul coughs up some nastiness on the partiers before they drive away.
Paul then tries to flag down a truck that takes him to the hospital. When he wakes up, the sheriff wants to know what happened. Paul rants about killing people, and the sheriff gets the wrong idea. They load him into Deputy Winston’s car, who promises to “take care of him.”
The next day, Jeff staggers out of wherever he’s been hiding and drinking beer. He’s still fine. He finds bits and pieces of people all over the cabin and grounds. “I made it,” he laughs as the whole police department shoots him full of holes. The sheriff and deputy are here to clean up the mess and keep it quiet. They burn the bodies and the cabin.
Elsewhere, some kids fill a cooler from the local river to make lemonade for their stand— downstream of Paul’s rotting corpse. The police stop in at the general store, and we see who the rifle behind the counter was really meant for.
The first half is a basic “Cabin in the woods” story where we meet the main characters. Of course, things soon devolve into a real mess. The gore is really good, especially if you’re into body horror.
Deputy Winston is seriously weird. The general store people are all hilariously weird. Got a sick friend? Lock them in a shed. The harmonica guy is so far over the top it’s to take anything seriously after that part.
It’s really gross. It’s really funny.
2009 Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever
• Directed by Ti West
• Written by Joshua Malkin, Randy Pearlstein, Ti West
• Stars Rider Strong, Noah Segan, Alexi Wasser, Rusty Kelley
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 26 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s said that Ti West disavowed this work because of heavy corruption by the producers, ending up with a movie he didn’t have in mind. That would explain it, because he’s done some other good things. This was a disappointing slog after how good the first Cabin Fever was. It takes quite a long time to get to some horror. There are some good moments after that, but it’s too little too late.
Paul, from the first film, wakes up in the river. His face is half melted off, but he’s not dead. He walks past the “Down Home Water” plant pumping water from the lake. He staggers through the woods, leaving a trail of gore behind him. He walks into the highway to flag down help and goes, “splat!” When a school bus hits him. Credits roll.
Deputy Winston takes the statement from the school bus driver. Winston says it was a moose, not a man. He jumps when a “Down Home Water” truck buzzes by. As the rest of the credits roll, we get an animation of the truck driving to the bottling plant.
John and his friend Alex walk through the high school and talk about Sandy, the hot girl. John soon ends up in the principal’s office. Later, Alex consoles a girl who got dumped, and she gives him a blow job, which is great except for her braces. OW! At the last minute, John asks Cassie to the prom, which is in five hours. She declines.
At the diner, Winston eats pancakes while the water truck driver has a seizure. He ends up spraying blood everywhere. Winston hops in the car and figures out the water connection. He goes to the bottling plant and checks the paperwork. Then the health department breaks in the door and kills the night watchman, and Winston runs away.
Everyone gets ready for the prom, and many of them drink the water as they prepare. Alex peels off his fingernail. Rick and Federica go skinny-dipping in the school pool, but she starts to dissolve in the pool, and Rick dies in his attempt to save her. The janitor bloody-pees in the punch bowl.
Sandy screams at the principal that she can’t find Rick. Marc and John get into another fight. John and Cassie then clear the air between them. The men with the guns and hazmat suits show up and demand they go back inside the high school. Then the men in the vans chain the doors shut and shoot the principal.
Back inside the prom, things start getting really bloody, really fast. Outside, Winston calls a friend to drive him out of town.
The soldiers, or whoever they are, wander the halls, killing infected people one at a time while gassing the main prom crowd. Alex finds a book in the library that discusses flesh-eating bacteria, but it’s too late to save him. Cassie watches Marc beat a man to death with a fire extinguisher.
John notices that his hand is infected, so he goes to the wood shop and asks Cassie to cut it off with a table saw. She does it, spraying them both with blood. Cassie then burns the wound and seals it with duct tape. Mark sneaks in and hits her in the head with a hammer, but before he can kill John, she gets Marc with a nail gun.
John and Cassie make it out the back door and into the woods. John is captured, but Cassie escapes.
She crosses the road to flag down a car, but it’s Winston and his buddy. They let her into the car, and they drive on, getting out of town, even though we know she’s infected…
At the town’s strip club, “braces girl” shares her bloody lipstick with the other performers. Several of the guys in the audience think she looks like a high school student. She then has sex with the patrons. We then get another animated bit showing how the disease spreads.
Ti West disavowed having anything to do with this film, asking them to give him an “Alan Smithee” credit, which they refused. It’s really obvious why he wanted his name removed. This is pretty awful. It’s just like all the “high school” horror films of the eighties and nineties, only twenty-some years too late.
It really amps up the humor to the point there’s more humor than horror here. There’s a lot of really bad teen angst here on top of the overly-talky first half. The blood and gore here are excessive but not particularly innovative or even good.
2014 Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero
• Directed by Kaare Andrews
• Written by Jake Wade Wall
• Stars Sean Astin, Currie Graham, Ryan Donowho
• Run Time: 1 hour, 31 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s a little too long to get to know the doomed young people initially, but it eventually gets going nicely. As you might guess from the title, it’s a prequel that shows the origins of the disease from the first two Cabin Fever movies. And it’s a pretty complex and interesting story. The cast does a decent job with it, and the gore effects are pretty over-the-top. It’s a nice bounce back after the so-so second film.
We get credits as we watch men in hazmat suits checking out a crime scene. They pull one man out of a house and send him to the hospital for examination.
Elsewhere, on an island, Dr. Edwards takes over at the lab, and we immediately see that he’s a jerk. The various small occurrences of the plague have all been contained so far, but it’s just a matter of time. The man they picked up from that house is the only survivor of the disease— he’s patient zero, Mr. Porter. Edwards tells him that he’s an asymptomatic carrier. Porter isn’t very cooperative, but that will not stop Edwards.
We cut to a group of young people coming for a wedding in the tropics. Marcus is getting married at the resort. Brother Josh comes to the wedding party along with his girl Penny, and Marcus isn’t thrilled to see either of them since Josh is a loud drunk. And Penny is an old flame.
A woman at the bazaar tries to give Penny a protective amulet (this scene goes nowhere). Dobbs and Josh have rented a boat to take all of them to a deserted island for a bachelor party getaway. Fiancée Katia insists she will stay behind, but Penny should go along since they’ve known her so long she’s practically one of the guys.
Back at the lab, Porter talks to Camila, one of the scientists. He wants to know if they’ve told his wife what happened to his son, who melted in his arms. They’ve been experimenting on him for two months now, and he’s had more than enough. He threatens to kill himself if he doesn’t hear from his wife. Bridgett gives a generic-sounding message from his wife, and she’s fine. We know she’s lying. More importantly, we can see that Porter knows she is lying. He purposely infects one of the technicians. This causes a 48-hour lockdown, and all guards and support staff are evacuated to the outer bunker, leaving just the three scientists, the infected technician, and Porter in the inner sanctum.
Back on the boat, Marcus gets upset that Josh doesn’t like Katia; he’s marrying up into the higher class, and his brother and friends don’t like it. Penny comes onto him, but he avoids her. Soon after, they come to a nice, deserted-looking island that’s not even on the map. Their guide drops them off and leaves with the boat to come back after they’ve had their fun.
Josh and Penny go snorkeling, but they can’t find any fish. None. Not alive anyway, but there are many rotten ones all over the bottom of the lagoon. She gets upset, but Josh makes a joke out of it. Marcus and Dobbs are too high to care. Penny notices that she has a rash on her arm now.
Edwards and assistant Bridgett work on the man that Porter infected, and she gets splashed with blood. She runs out to wash the blood off but knows it’s too late at that point.
Penny shows Josh her rash, and now he has some on his legs. He thinks they got some bad weed and are reacting to it. They have sex, and we see that she’s already getting pretty bad. She spits blood all over Josh.
Marcus and Dobbs decide to make for that building they saw on the way into the island. They find a compound that seems to be deserted and locked down. They force a shutter up and go in. Then they get locked in and soon find blood on the floor. There’s a radio that someone smashed with an ax. As they explore the place, they find no people but lots of wreckage.
Josh sorta-kinda contacts Dr. Edwards on the radio, who says to come to the compound. But then he accidentally pulls the skin off Penny’s arms. “I can fix this!” He screams.
Dobbs and Marcus finally find an infected man with a gun, and the chase is on! As they try to hide, they find dozens of rotting corpses, some of which aren’t dead yet. Marcus finds a room full of information and gets some idea of what they’re dealing with. Josh, who got in a different way, catches up with Dobbs and Marcus, and the three of them have an armed standoff as they all spout truths at each other.
The three guys find Bridgett and Camila. Confirming this is the lab we’ve been seeing all this time. Bridgett’s looking pretty bad. They meet Edwards and Porter. They all blame Dr. Edwards. Camila says the dead fish in the ocean means it’s just a matter of time until it spreads to the mainland. Oh yeah— there’s also a self-destruct system for the compound.
They find the sewer system that drains into the lagoon, but only Porter can go in and turn the valve off since he’s immune. They also set the self-destruct to go boom soon.
Bridgett whacks Josh with a stick and takes half his face off. Edwards talks to Dobbs about what Dobb’s infection will do to him until Edwards gets a chance to kill him. Bridgett makes it to the beach and encounters Penny, who’s a rotted mess. The two have a gross, rotten, skinless catfight as they literally pull each other to pieces.
Marcus, Porter, and Camila find Dobbs’s and Josh’s bodies in the jungle. Edwards starts to monologue and shoots Marcus. Porter shoots Edwards.
Back on the boat on the way home, Marcus tells Camila that a mouse infected the people in the bunker. She realizes that Porter infected everyone on purpose, including the water he just gave them to drink. He kills the guide, sabotages the boat, takes the dinghy, and leaves for the mainland without them.
During the closing credits, we get to see what went on with that mouse we just heard about.
Marcus’s angst over the wedding really drags. These people will all die anyway, and we know it, so move on with the story! The acting here is far better than in the second film, and Sean Astin and Curry Graham do a good job with the script they have. Still, this feels more like a zombie movie than a plague film. Naturally, there is some overlap between the two genres, but this could easily have been a simple walking dead movie just by changing a few lines.
The Penny vs. Bridgett fight was really something. They went all out on that gore!
There was too much pre-wedding angst that didn’t come to anything and slowed down the good stuff. Still, it was miles better than the second film.
Cabin Fever (2016)
• Directed by Travis Zariwny
• Written by Eli Roth, Randy Pearlstein
• Stars Gage Golightly, Matthew Daddario, Samuel Davis
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 39 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
The Horror Guys are baffled about why this was remade. It’s the same script and story as the original, there wasn’t much new, but some good bits were missing. The effects were fine, but nothing new there. It’s less funny. It’s mediocre by comparison.
Henry the trapper wanders through the woods carrying a rabbit. He tells the dog that he caught dinner, but the dog, whose name is “Pancakes,” explodes in a bloody mess in the man’s face. Credits roll.
Five friends are headed to a remote cabin in the woods. First, they stop at a general store for beer. A weird kid is wearing a cut-out rabbit mask and sitting on a bench. He bites Paul, and Tommy, the store’s owner, gets really upset. “Everybody knows you shouldn’t talk to Dennis,” he warns.
The man inside the store warns them about Lyme disease and bad stuff in the woods. He casually states, “Some hikers got real sick last week, but the doctors took care of them, I guess.”
The cabin is really nice. There’s no phone signal. There’s no TV. No Internet. Bert asks what the hell they are supposed to do all week. Still, Bert brought along a fully automatic assault rifle to play in the woods. Paul and Karen talk about how long they’ve known each other. Meanwhile, Jeff and Marcy have sex in the cabin.
Bert shoots Henry with his gun because Bert’s an idiot. Bert promises to get help but doesn’t. That night, around the campfire, Paul tells the same pointless story he told in the original. A hiker named Grim comes by with his dog and shares his weed with them. It starts to rain, so he doesn’t stay long.
Henry, the sick man, comes to the door, and he’s a mess. When Henry tries to steal their car, they all go out and attack the car. They spray the guy with lighter fluid and set him on fire.
The guys talk about getting help, and Marcy takes off first. Karen and Paul argue about setting a strange man on fire and whether it might have been the wrong course of action. Paul and Jeff come across a woman slaughtering a diseased-looking pig in her barn.
When they get back to the cabin, they find Deputy Winston there, and she’s really weird.
At this point, it started to seem pointless to add anything new to the synopsis since this is obviously exactly the same film as the 2002 version. They even used the same basic script.
What the hell were they thinking?
This is nearly word-for-word, nearly shot-for-shot, as the original. The few changes they did make were worse than the original. Who thought this was a good idea? The production values were good, the acting was good, and it all looks just fine, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with the original. Also, the original had a lot more humor and weirdness that this one lacks.
I was hoping there would be some improved, updated special effects or maybe some surprising twist at the end, but there was none. It was exactly the same story with some really minor changes that weren’t even as good as the original.
We paid four bucks to watch this on Apple TV, and this was my biggest regret of November!
Short Film: Kiddo (2022)
• Directed by Brett Chapman
• Written by Brett Chapman, Scott Milligan
• Stars Lisa Howard, Lauren Patel, Paddy Stafford
• Run Time: 8 Minutes
• Trailer: www.instagram.com/kiddoshortfilm
A group of young people, all dressed similarly, seem to be on a field trip in a bus. All except one much older woman named ‘Kiddo.’ We’re also told that Jasper is coming of age and joining the family business. He seems to watch out for Kiddo, who acts very strangely and wears what appears to be a dog collar.
It’s a very strange world, and it’s not clear what’s going on until the end, although we had our suspicions. How will Kiddo fare on this little trip? Will she ever smile? What is she for?
It’s really well done. The soundtrack is cool, the sets are interesting, and the weird situation is just perfect for a short of this kind.
Newsletter Contact Info:
Stay tuned for more regular and bonus reviews next week!
• Email: email@example.com
• Book Store: https://brianschell.com/collection/horror-film-books
• The web: http://www.horrorguys.com
• Subscribe by email:
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/horrormovieguys
• Twitter: http://twitter.com/HorrorMovieGuys
Thanks for reading Horror Bulletin! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.