The Cabin Fever series has finally come circle. If you know anything about the series, you know that the first film was just a strange creepy film that never really explained anything about the horrible flesh eating virus that consumes the kids in the film. The second film is a bit of a mess, but it picks up right where the last one stops: The virus has left the cabin and preys upon the kids of the local high school. While both films were campy, the second one drowns in its campiness.
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero dials back the campiness, changes the setting, and attempts to show us the origins to this franchise. It works for the most part, but there’s just something to a mysterious illness without associated it to international espionage. It keeps the skin and sexiness that the series has had, but it’s almost laughably distracting on occasion. Still, the gore…WOW!
Patient Zero has two intertwining stories.
Sean Astin plays Porter, and Porter is immune to the disease. Unfortunately, his family (and the rest of the people on the Dominican island he lives on) aren’t. The hazmat teams find him among the carnage that we’ve come to be terrified of, and they take him to their island complex and isolate him. His life becomes a series of experiments, and the animosity in him grows the longer he’s there. After cutting his hand, he attacks one of the doctors (infecting him). The lab is put into lockdown, but the damage is done: the disease begins to spread.
Meanwhile, former burnout now law school graduate Marcus (Mitch Ryan) is getting married to his exotic and rich fiancée. His brother Josh (Brando Eaton) and girlfriend Penny (Jillian Murray) (who shares a complicated past with Marcus) plan a last second bachelor party for Marcus with Marcus’ best friend Dobbs (Ryan Donowho). They charter a boat to take them to a remote island for sun, swimming, beer, and more in Marcus’ honor.
Do you want to guess how these stories intersect?
Patient Zero is a good addition to the franchise. As a prequel, it does give us some back story we were missing. But as a prequel, it doesn’t explain to us at all how the virus traveled from this island setting to the dark woods we first discovered it in. This film took itself a little more seriously than the others, and actually felt more like a Hostel installment to me.
This series thrives on how horrible its characters evolve physically and emotionally. As usual, you won’t be disappointed here. If somebody isn’t sick, they will do anything to stay well. The sick will do anything to survive, and are willing to sacrifice anybody that stands before them. That is the real horror to this series, and it is well represented in this film.
Cabin Fever has also had a certain sexiness to it. It’s odd, but it works. Unfortunately, Patient Zero tries to force this in a little too much. Girlfriends are usually left home for bachelor parties, but Penny is confusingly here for the ride. She is constantly rocking a bikini. The female doctors at this facility also like to show off the goods.
As beautiful as the women look in the film, you just know that the disease will completely ruin that (and it does). The make up and gore in this is top notch. We have multiple head cave ins, sores bursting, skin peeling off. My absolute favorite was the guy who’s chin just became a bloody beard as it melted. And, one of the greatest scenes of the series happens… two afflicted souls fist fight. It’s messy to say the least.
Netflix just updated its streaming titles in time for Halloween, and Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is a great watch if you’re a fan of this series. The gore is phenomenal, and the campiness has been dialed down. The characters are unlikeable as usual, and it can be truly terrifying at times.