Cabin Fever (2002) Poster

(2002)

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  • Five college students—Paul (Rider Strong), Karen (Jordan Ladd), Bert (James DeBello), Marcy (Cerina Vincent), and Jeff (Joey Kern)—rent a cabin in the woods in order to celebrate their graduation. While there, they encounter a hermit (Arie Verveen) suffering from some sort of skin disease. In the days to come, the disease is transmitted to each of them, one by one, until there's only one of them left. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Cabin Fever was co-written by filmmaker Eli Roth (who also directed the movie), inspired by an experience he had during a trip to Iceland in which he suffered from a skin infection. It was followed by Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009) (2009). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • It is never diagnosed in the movie. At one point, it is referred to as a "skin virus", but the term "virus" is used loosely. It bears a strong resemblance to necrotizing fasciitis, a condition in which a "flesh-eating" bacteria (not a virus) enters the body through a small cut or wound and quickly begins to eat the underlying tissue. Whether caused by a virus or a bacteria, the course of the skin disease (based on Karen's (Jordan Ladd) deterioration) is quick, starting with a general feeling of tiredness, fever, and nausea, followed by skin rashes that rapidly break down the body tissue over a course of 1 to 2 days. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Most viewers agree that the most likely source of contamination is when Henry the hermit (Arie Verveen) examines a dog's rotting corpse at the start of the movie. A bit later in the movie, it is revealed that some pigs belonging to Henry's cousin are also infected, so they might have been bitten by the dog, or it's possible that both pigs and dog picked it up from being bitten by ticks or mosquitoes. The movie provides no answer. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • When Paul (Rider Strong) sees Henry's rotting corpse floating in the reservoir, he concludes that the disease is being transmitted in the water, quite possible because each person is shown at some point in the movie drinking or coming in contact with water from the reservoir. Karen is shown several times sipping on a glass of water, and she is the first to come down with it. Marcy (Cerina Vincent) drinks tea (made with water) and she has some baths while staying at the cabin. Bert (James DeBello) forgets about his bet with Jeff (Joey Kern) and drinks a glass of water, prompting Paul to say, "Bert, you just lost the bet." Paul falls into the reservoir, right on top of Henry's rotting corpse. Jeff drinks no water, only beer, (in keeping with his bet with Bert), and he is the only one who doesn't come down with the disease. Additionally Marcy says that she washed all the dishes after Karen's infection was discovered. Jeff is the only one who refuses to eat anything - so the rest of them could easily have become infected from anything they ate off the plates.

    This, of course, assumes that Paul was correct in his conclusion that the disease was in the water. Since there are other ways that disease can be spread, e.g., by bodily contact, by transmission of body fluids (blood, semen, saliva, etc.), or by becoming airborne, viewers have suggested several other ways the infection could have been passed. Paul may have contaminated himself when he was sleeping with Karen and dipped his fingers in one of her sores. Paul and Bert may have contaminated themselves when they were cleaning the car after the hermit barfed all over it. Marcy and Paul could have infected themselves any of the times they made direct contact with Karen while tending to her. Paul may have gotten himself infected when he had sex with Marcy, as Marcy was already developing sores on her back at that time. The ending of the movie, however, points a strong finger at the water being the carrier. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Disinfecting his privates after having sex with Marcy without using a condom. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Cerina Vincent explains this in the DVD commentary. Marcy is so zoned out by this point (worrying about the disease and highly ashamed about having impromptu sex with Paul) that she doesn't even notice that her legs are peeling away until the third stroke of the razor. Marcy is not looking at her legs as she shaves them. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The contents of "the kit" remain a mystery to this day... Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Near the end of the movie when Paul is being carted through the hospital, he takes a brief glance into a passing room and sees Dennis (Matthew Helms) lying in a hospital bed. Someone wearing a bunny costume is serving him a plate of pancakes. Some possible explanations offered by various viewers include: (1) It's a hallucination, (2) it's a plot device intended to make the viewer ask " What the heck?", (3) it's a reference to a strikingly similar scene in The Shining (1980) (1980), in which a character running through a drearily-illuminated hallway sees, for a split second, someone dressed in a dog costume apparently going down on a man dressed in a tuxedo, and (4) the bunny-suit man was from one of those cheer-up-sick-kids-in-hospital charities and was trying to make Dennis feel better. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The policemen place all the bodies in a pile and set them on fire. Two children can be seen filling a barrel with water from a stream. Up the stream lies Paul's body, obviously infested with the skin disease. The children set up a lemonade stand outside of Old Man Cadwell's (Robert Harris) store, using the creek water to make it. The three policemen each buy a cup. In the final scene, three black people enter the store and, in a tense moment, Cadwell gets down a rifle. Turns out that the rifle belongs to them and that Cadwell was polishing it for them. As the credits roll, a bluegrass band plays "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", while the townspeople sip lemonade and a truck rolls by carrying "Down Home Spring Water." Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Four of them Karen, Bert, Marcy, and Paul come down with the disease, but none of them actually die from it. Although near death, Karen is bludgeoned by Paul in an attempt to put her out of her misery, Bert has his head blown off by a hillbilly, Marcy is ripped apart by Grim's dog, and Paul is left to die in a stream bed, probably after being shot by Deputy Winston (Giuseppe Andrews). Jeff manages to not get the disease by hiding out in a cave and drinking only beer, but he is shot to death by three policemen who have been ordered to kill them all and burn the bodies. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The director's version runs approximately 5 minutes longer and it is being said that this is the cut that premiered in Toronto back in September 2002. As far as one can trust the information given in the IMDb, this is not completely true. Especially the striking changes at the beginning respectively a changed order of scenes and scenes missing in the theatrical version can't be observed. Bert's head-shoot isn't gorier as well. The other changes, described in the IMDb, those scenes can be found and from scene to scene the movie gets a bit better due to added material. Sometimes the dialogue appears to be smoother and finally one gets to know the fate of the third redneck: in the theatrical version, he gets beaten with a shovel and then disappears, whilst in the Director's Cut in a new scene he becomes a victim of the hasty cops. This plus a new shot of Bert's headless corps might please the gorehounds because mostly dialogue and story have been added to the movie instead. Besides a nice little shock effect (a short flashback of the infected guy in the wood after a calm camera pan), Roth missed in the theatrical version and mentioned in several interviews, can be seen again. The rearranged and prolonged ending is striking as well. Edit (Coming Soon)

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