Monday, October 2, 2023


 by Adam Riske

Nominated for “Best Screenplay” (Eli Roth & Randy Pearlstein) at the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards. They lost to Alex Garland for 28 Days Later.

• Best Scene/Moment (tie): Everything with Deputy Winston and the “Pancakes!” scene.

• Best Song: “Ice Cream Song” by David Hess. This is the first viewing where I was aware that most of Cabin Fever’s songs were originally from The Last House on the Left.
• Best Merch: A ticket stub for $39.99 from when Cabin Fever played at the San Francisco International Film Festival on 04/19/02. My favorite aspect of this listing is that it says there are Free Returns (why would you return this if you bought it?) and the ticket says it has no cash value and yet someone is trying to sell it on eBay.

• Director Check: Cabin Fever was the directorial debut of actor, producer, screenwriter, and director Eli Roth. After film school, Roth had an internship with David Lynch and Angelo Badalementi (who went on to be one of the composers of the Cabin Fever score). Cabin Fever was a festival hit in 2002 and went on to become a cult classic after its theatrical release in 2003. Roth’s follow-up, 2006’s Hostel, was an even bigger mainstream success. Roth directed Hostel: Part II a year later, which had a cooler reception though it has its own passionate fanbase. After a long break, Roth returned with 2013’s The Green Inferno before pivoting from horror films to thrillers like 2015’s Knock Knock with Keanu Reeves and 2018’s Death Wish remake starring Bruce Willis. In 2018, Roth also directed his first family-friendly movie with The House with a Clock in Its Walls. Roth has two films on the horizon - one is a feature-length version of his trailer (from the 2007 movie Grindhouse) for Thanksgiving, which comes out this November, and next year’s video game adaptation of Borderlands, which reunites Roth with Clock stars Jack Black and Cate Blanchett.

• Double It with This 2003 Movie: Bubba Ho-Tep

• Year 2003 Movies to Trailer Before It: Freddy Vs. Jason, House of 1000 Corpses, Scary Movie 3

Draft Day or Cabin Fever? It’s close but Draft Day gets the slight edge.
• Mall Movie? Absolutely. Cabin in the woods horror (and pretty much all horror) is at home in a mall cinema.

• Only in 2003: The jokes using slurs were cringey in 2003 and wouldn’t fly in 2023.

• Scene Stealer: Giuseppe Andrews.

• I Miss (tie): The Lionsgate Films logo with the lion on it and subversive Rider Strong performances.

• I Don’t Miss: James DeBello. He’s still working but doesn’t normally show up in things I watch. Dude terrifies me.

• 2003 Crush: Cerina Vincent.

• 2023 Crush: Cerina Vincent.
• What I Thought in 2003: I was all about Cabin Fever when I saw it opening weekend in Fall 2003. I watched it alone the first time and immediately went back home and convinced one of my roommates to go back with me later that week. It became a movie we quoted for the rest of our senior year in college. Good times.

• What I Think in 2023: It’s really fun and a great movie for the fall season. Cabin Fever is still my favorite Eli Roth movie (which isn’t a pejorative since I like a few of his other movies including Knock Knock and the first Hostel). Cabin Fever does a really good job balancing both its horror and comedy elements. I don’t feel cheated in either department. Also, I love Cabin Fever’s shaggy, first-time director trying anything, exploitation vibe.


  1. I haven't seen this movie but I put it on my watchlist for Scary Movie Month this year so hopefully I will change that. I do love Rider Strong, a person I know more from his podcast Literary Disco which is about books than from his acting since I didn't watch Boy Meets World.

    Thanks for the write up which reaffirms my interest in checking out my first ever Eli Roth movie!

  2. Great write up Adam! Ive been meaning to revisit this one for a longgg time as i recall it being alot of gory fun! Think ill have to throw it in the lineup for scary movie month!

    (also...i feel like it would pair nicely with: The Ruins and The Raft segment from Creepshow 2).

  3. Eli Roth doesn't appear on my radar very much, so I've neglected seeing this movie all these years. However, I've heard good things. Consider it added to the list to (hopefully) get to this year!