”Tell me I’m clever, Tell me I’m kind, Tell me I’m talented, Tell me I’m cute,
Tell me I’m sensitive, Graceful and wise, Tell me I’m perfect– But tell me the truth”
Cabin Fever (2002)
Grizzly Park (2008)
Despite its willingness to fool around with style and narrative, Cabin Fever is not an any more complex movie. A Jeep load of sex-crazy teens take a trip to a mountain cabin. Coitus is interrupted by the unwelcome visit of a desperate, diseased-scourged stranger, who the campers, sort of accidentally, immolate with a torch. However, they can’t avoid getting infected with the same aggressive flesh eating virus. From here their weekend descends into a chaotic stew of bloody epidermi, miscarried escapes, survivorial betrayals, and paranoid, rifle-toting yokels. As just a horror concept this actually sounds pretty good to me. I like the idea that the stalker of these teens in the woods is inside them; the killer virus, but also their self-centered impulses. The problem with Cabin Fever is its protracted reach for cult movie cred. It tries unconvincingly to integrate its horror concept with a local town full of affected (not infected), tertiary, comical characters who keep pulling the straight playing, ensanguined campers further into their calamity: an inbred child disciplined in Kung Foo, a hillbilly shop keeper who fist bumps the town’s black gang bangers. This stuff feels like it was clipped from Fletch Lives not, um…Teens Die. The result is a movie that can’t stop the bleeding from its lack of focus and force. It is neither successfully scary nor funny. Cabin Fever is a bad movie for all the wrong reasons.
Grizzly Park, compared to Cabin Fever, is tackier and stupider, worse produced, written, and acted and, in fact, a better movie. It’s better because it has no pretense about defying genre conventions to be clever. Grizzly Park is a straight forward piece of body-dismembering junk. A vanload of sex-crazy teens take a trip to a mountain cabin. In this case the teens have all been sentenced in juvie to a week of picking up trash and learning about responsibility from nature. If the kids were willing to grow up, follow rules and listen to the advice of their adult guide, a judicious park ranger, they might avoid their fate. Instead each delinquent finds a way to repeat the misbehavior that got them in trouble in the first place, and attract the attention of a hungry, Express jeans-crazy grizzly bear. Chomp, chomp, chomp. It is grisly, and grizzly. It is not Godard. It’s gross, its stupid, and it’s great.