Cabin Fever: Patient Zero


Part 3 of the Trilogy is Part 1 Chronologically, so…Cabin Fever part 0.5???

Main Cast: Sean Astin and Mitch Ryan

Director: Kaare Andrews

What do you do when you go into the last movie in a trilogy, expecting a prequel that leads into the first movie of the set only to find you’re still just as lost about how the whole thing started as you were before? You finish up the movie and remove Cabin Fever: Patient Zero from your Netflix queue, because you just watched it.

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, written by Amusements Jake Wade Wall, and directed by Altitudes Kaare Andrews (two really decent movies), was originally going to be part 3 of 4, which were supposed to be shot back to back but that fourth movie was cancelled at the last minute. Part three, however, the “prequel”, was made anyway. Most of my curiosity regarding this movie was because I had read it explained where the infection from the original Cabin Fever came from. While this movie does tell a story of the same virus, I’m still no closer to understanding where it came from or, what I really wanted to know, how it wound up in the woods in the first movie, than I was when I woke up this morning and had yet to watch it.

Whatever, though. Cabin Fever: Patient Zero wasn’t terrible. It was confusing for most of its 94-minute run time, though, because we’ve got two stories going on and no idea, until act three, where or when they are taking place in relation to each other.

In the first story, we see, during the opening credits montage, photographs of a violent outbreak of the flesh-eating virus while a distraught Sean Astin (from a little film you’ve probably never heard of called The Goonies!) talks over the phone to a Spanish-speaking operator, begging for help and telling her that everyone is dead. Cut to what looks like a military compound as its being quarantined. Deep in the bowels of a research station at the compound, a box is opened, out of which tumbles the unconscious Astin as “Porter”, a man who appears to be immune to the disease.

The doctor here intends to use Porter to find a cure, but Porter is very angry and doesn’t want to cooperate. And who can blame him? His young son died in his arms and since being brought here–two months prior we soon learn–Porter hasn’t been allowed to talk to his wife back home or to leave his cell. He’s constantly tested and sampled and knows in his heart he’s never leaving this lab alive.

Meanwhile two bros, a guy and a girl are headed to a deserted island for a bachelor party. Groom Marcus (Mitch Ryan–God, even his name sounds douchy–“One Tree Hill”), his brother Josh (Brando Eaton, “Dexter”), and their friends Dobbs (Ryan Donowho–gets a pass because his name is so close to DOCTOR WHO, but he really was the douchiest of the bunch–“The O.C.”) and Penny (Jillian Murray–showed her boobs, and was in a really good horror movie called The Graves), are taking the night before Marcus gets married to have one last party on an isolated island off the Dominican Republic where they can drink all the beer and smoke all the pot they can handle without consequence. But while snorkeling when they first arrive, Josh and Penny pick up a bug from the water. Marcus and Dobbs head off to get help because, when they arrived they saw the island wasn’t uninhabited as they’d been told; there’s a big concrete structure at the north end, which their boat captain insists is empty.

Turns out he was wrong, and Marcus and Dobbs discover the source of whatever’s in the water around the island. Dead bodies, and lots of ‘em!

I will say Cabin Fever: Patient Zero took itself much more seriously than the previous one in the high school did. It’s got some killer gore, like the last one, but the gore here serves the story. However, this movie taking itself more seriously doesn’t mean I didn’t immediately hope all of the main characters died, and quickly. There was just way too much bro going on here. I couldn’t take it.

Having said that, about the more serious tone, I also want to point out that one of the best scenes was a flesh-eaten cat-fight on the beach between a seriously falling apart Penny and Nurse Bridgett (Lydia Hearst–I referred to her in my notes as Nurse Cleavage for reasons that are obvious 5 minutes in–“Gossip Girl”). It was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen, and also one of the most awesome at the same time.

This scene also brought home really well just how good the make-up effects were. They were terrible to look at and, for the first time in a Cabin Fever movie, I understood the full brunt of the kind of pain the characters must be in to endure what’s happening to them. Excellent stuff there.

I can’t say the acting was the best in the world. The evil doctor, Currie Graham’s Dr. Edwards (Graham was in Marvel’s “Agent Carter”), was a smug piece of shit, but I think a little ambiguity could have gone a lot further with the character. The bros, on the other hand, there was no saving these characters; I hated them immediately. And maybe the three actors who played them are actually really great guys and the fact I hated their characters so much from the beginning shows how good a job they did with them. Maybe. But that fact doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. By the time they started getting sick and showing signs of infection, I was tired of looking at them.

Then there’s Sean Astin. Sean Astin, what the hell you doing in Cabin Fever: Patient Zero? I’ve seen your IMDB page, you get plenty of work. This was a favor, wasn’t it? Or blackmail. I’m not gonna say Sean Astin is an A-lister, but he definitely doesn’t need to be making Cabin Fever sequels. And for every scene he was in, I got a strong sense of “hold up, everybody, THIS is how you act” from him.

I don’t know, I just can’t decide with Cabin Fever: Patient Zero. It was better than the second one, that’s for sure. But as a prequel, it did a terrible job; I’ve still no idea where the virus came from or how it got to the cabin where Cerina Vincent rode Rider’s strong in the first movie. So three stars? I gave part 2 three stars, so let’s give this one, what, 3 ½, and call it a day.

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