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Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (2014)

Image Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 9/2/2014

All Ratings out of

Movie:

Video:
1/2
Audio:

Extras: No Extras

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/22/2014

As someone who has watched way too many low-budget horror films, I can say that the heyday of sensational movies has seemingly passed. Gone are the days of Re-Animator or Dead/Alive when rabid horror film fans were telling one another, "You have to see this movie!". Today, no one seems willing to take a chance and so many of the movies are interchangeable. So, what would happen if one of these homogenous films suddenly had a somewhat unique and intriguing scene right in the middle? Would that be enough to shake up the status quo? Let's find out with Cabin Fever: Patient Zero.

As Cabin Fever: Patient Zero opens, Porter (Sean Astin) is being placed in quarantine in a lab under the care of Dr. Edwards (Currie Graham). We learn that porter is immune to a outbreak and that the scientists want to study him, despite his protests. The scene then shifts to a party for the upcoming wedding of Marcus (Mitch Ryan) and Katia (Claudette Lali), which is being held in a tropical paradise. The next day, Marcus, his brother Josh (Brando Eaton), and their friends Dobbs (Ryan Donowho) and Penny (Jillian Murray), charter a boat for a bachelor party cruise. They venture out to sea and then take a smaller boat to a small island to continue their party. Once there, things quickly break down as Penny breaks out in a painful rash after snorkeling. As the group struggles to figure out what to do, in-fighting begins. Meanwhile, Porter is fighting back against his captors, causing a lockdown of the lab.

There was a time when sequels and/or prequels had direct ties to the previous films. (For this argument, we will ignore drive-in or foreign films whose titles implied that they were related to a hit movie.) However, the home video revolution changed all of that and we were suddenly getting movies with numbers behind the title which had little or nothing to do with any other movie in the series. Sometimes we got completely new characters, sometimes we got an idea which was similar to a prior story, or sometimes we got a movie which was a flat-out lie. (I'm looking at you, Knock Knock 2.) Cabin Fever: Patient Zero fits this criteria to an extent. It shares the flesh-eating virus seen in the overrated 2002 film Cabin Fever from horror-copycat Eli Roth, but that's about it. Otherwise, we've got a new story, with new characters. The title implies that this would be a prequel to Cabin Fever, but this is never confirmed.

Wait, did I say that we have a new story? Oh, that's incorrect, as everything about the miniscule plot here has been done before. As with seemingly every other modern-day horror movie, we get a group of annoying twenty-somethings who have traveled to a remote location to party, only to meet their doom. (When is this madness going to stop?) We also get the secret lab plot, complete with hazmat suits. While this sort of story isn't as ubiquitous as the former of the two, itís still pretty hackneyed. Now, combining these two stories is an original notion, but up until the point where the two merge, it doesnít gel. The switching back and forth between the two plots makes Cabin Fever: Patient Zero feel like two movies which have been edited together.

The bottom-line here is that Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is just more of the same. While it harkens back to an earlier horror tradition in which stranded travelers must visit the old, dark house in search of help (with a lab standing in for the house), it doesnít offer much in the way of new ideas. Director Kaare Andrews previously directed the impressive Altitude so this feels like a step backwards for him. He does keep the pace moving, but that canít overcome the annoying characters. Despite all of that, I can recommend Cabin Fever: Patient Zero to those who search out the extreme in movies. There is a scene near the beginning of the third act where the movie goes for broke and really gets gross. This certainly doesnít save the movie, but I want those out there who like this sort of thing to know that this moment made this old gorehound sit up and take notice.

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero wonít boost tourism to tropical beaches on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Image Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 28 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good in the daytime shots, especially those on-board the boat. However, some of the nighttime scenes are too dark and some of the action is difficult to make out. The level of detail is good, as the image is rarely soft, and the depth is adequate. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are good and there are some nice moments on the island where audio coming from the front channels informs us that something is happening off-screen. The surround sound effects are a bit subtle, but they work well with the confined space of the lab. I did note that the subwoofer effects were somewhat overbearing and over-rode the dialogue in spots.

The Cabin Fever: Patient Zero Blu-ray Disc contains no special features.

Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long