Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009)

Cabin Fever 2

Directed by Ti West [Other horror films: The Roost (2005), Trigger Man (2007), The House of the Devil (2009), The Innkeepers (2011), V/H/S (2012, segment ‘Second Honeymoon’), The ABCs of Death (2012, segment ‘M is for Miscarriage’), The Sacrament (2013)]

I sort of wanted to like this movie, if for no other reason, to erase the taste of the first from my mouth. But while this movie had some pretty decent effects and disgustingly heavy gore, I felt extraordinarily lukewarm toward it as the credits began to roll.

Let’s get the good out of the way, which won’t take too long. I liked both Noah Segan and Alexi Wasser in their roles. I thought they played a cute couple, despite not really being a couple until perhaps the end. Neither one has been in much I’ve particularly seen, but they did well here with what they had. The idea behind the film, in which contaminated water spreads the skin-eating disease past the perimeters of the original, was fun. I just don’t think it was executed well.

Lastly, the gore was moderately top-notch. There were two scenes that were frankly difficult to stomach (keywords being “fingernail” and “dick”), and though I felt repulsed, I can’t deny those scenes’ efficacy. The problem is, I expected a bit more during the prom sequence. Sure, every other person was throwing up blood, but come on, that’s it? No body parts falling off? No grisly face melts? It just felt toned down, which could probably be explained by the fact they hadn’t been exposed to the disease long enough for those extreme effects to be seen, but even so, it was disappointing.

Also disappointing was the pretty unexciting first half of the movie. I don’t mind a little high school drama, but come on, get to something good. Occasionally showing us the party cop from the first movie investigating doesn’t do it for me. And while we’re at it, I was pretty disappointed in Giuseppe Andrews’ story-line in the movie. I was hoping for some type of redemption from his actions in the first, but instead, he sort of goes nowhere.

Speaking of useless sequences, though, the final ten minutes, starting in the strip club, didn’t strike me as necessary at all. What did we learn from that? The disease is spreading still? As if that was supposed to take us by surprise…

The animated beginning and ending was sort of interesting, but this movie didn’t do much at all for me. I was hoping (though not seriously expecting) a more serious tone, but again, it wasn’t to be. Did I enjoy Spring Fever more than the first movie? Probably, yes, but it’s not by much, and much like the first movie, I really can’t see myself deciding to give this one a re-watch for the enjoyment of it.

5/10

The Lights (2009)

Directed by John Sjogren [Other horror films: N/A]

There’s basically only two reasons, as far as I can tell, to really seek this movie out. One, if you’re a slasher fan, and two, to see if Oscar Lusth can act (the answer is not really).

Oscar who? Well, many years back, I was a fan of the reality show Survivor, and Oscar, or Ozzy, has been a repeat contender, well-known for his strong athletic ability, outstripping almost every peer. In fact, since he first appeared on Survivor back in 2006, I’m surprised this DVD copy I have doesn’t milk the fact that they have Ozzy in the movie.

As it is, while it’s nice seeing a familiar (and unexpected) face, the novelty doesn’t really take long to wear off. That said, his character, Steve, is a decently fun guy. Other actors worth mentioning include the killer Kerry Wallum (not great acting, but a somewhat charming personality) and Joe Estevez (who has had well over two hundred roles). On the flipside, Elizabeth Jauregui had some of the worst delivery I’ve seen in a while. Part of the fault might lie with the script-writer (seriously, she was expected to tell a serial killer that the law says he shouldn’t kill her with a straight face?), but bad script aside, she was pretty weak.

None of the kills in the flick are excellent. Some quick-paced hammer attacks are nice, and an individual gets his arm chopped off in what’s probably my favorite scene, but overall, nothing really comes across as that memorable (including a dismemberment). And that final kill just didn’t look good.

There’s not really much to this movie, when all’s said and done. Some funny lines, some hammy acting, and sure, seeing half naked women is never bad, but the meandering start to the film, along with unspectacular kills, really don’t make this film one that stands out. I saw this first in October 2017, and for all the good a re-watch has done, I’d have been better served watching a plethora of other flicks. Not terrible, but below average.

6/10

Fear Island (2009)

Fear Island

Directed by Michael Storey [Other horror films: N/A]

Fear Island isn’t a great movie, and that mainly stems from the fact that from the beginning, as an audience, we can sort of see where it’s going.

Unreliable narrators are sometimes fantastic (The Usual Suspects comes to mind), and sometimes not so much, because there comes a point in which something is overdone, and it loses what it otherwise could have had. I feel that happened here

The story isn’t that bad: A girl is found on an island with six bodies, and she recounts her tale to the police, who are at first suspicious, but grow to accept what she says. And we have twists throughout. Or maybe there aren’t, as unreliable narrators can leave things out, lie, etc.

I liked how this movie was set up. But it was made past the time in which these types of movies weren’t uncommon. Hell, it’s moderately similar to The Hole, and that came out way back in 2001. So no, Fear Island’s not great. Some potential inconsistencies, almost no gore, somewhat annoying characters, idiotic characters, and unnecessary twists. You could do worse, though, for a television movie, and despite the problems, it’s certainly a movie that tried. Less than average, pretty generic even, but not disastrously so.

6/10

Hit and Run (2009)

Hit and Run

Directed by Edna McCallion [Other horror films: N/A]

I’ve not seen this since either the 2009 or 2010 October Challenge. Either way, I think I disliked it even more this time around.

The good elements Hit and Run contains are as such: 1) the main actress, Laura Breckenridge, was pretty attractive, 2) the usage of the Modest Mouse song “Float On” was welcoming to the ears and 3) some of the scenes, specifically death scenes, were acceptable.

Everything else failed miserably, though.

Most prominently among them, you don’t feel an ounce of sympathy for the main character – whether she lives or dies, you really don’t care. You dislike her boyfriend even more, though. And it doesn’t help that you don’t feel much sympathy for the murderer past a certain point. It’s a movie with no sides to root for. Not only that, but some edits and cuts in this movie just look amateurish.

Now, some have commented that this film was trying to harken back to the days of 70’s/80’s slashers. If this was their intent, they failed miserably. After the initial incident, in which our main character runs someone over while driving home intoxicated, the movie almost turns into a character study. We see how she reacts, the trials of going through with burying the person she hit instead of letting the police know. And for 40 minutes, the horror elements are zilch.

If this character had been particularly interesting, or had this been done by the hands of a far more talented director, maybe it could have worked. For what it was, though, I was bored out of my mind. And when things do happen, it’s not particularly good. This is just a disappointment of a movie, and does many things wrong. The points I gave it come from the fact that while this film isn’t good, it’s certainly leagues above the worst horror films. It’s overly generic, and just overall not conducive to a fun viewing.

4/10