Like many films, 2002’s Cabin Fever didn’t particularly need a remake, but it’s sure as hell got one. The question is will the 2016 version of Eli Roth’s horror flick get it wrong in a big way?
Due to hit the big screen very shortly, Cabin Fever might just make fans of the original a little stir crazy. Why? Because apparently it’s not a lot different to what happened 14 years ago.
This time around, instead of a group of college grads stuck in a cabin with a flesh-eating virus, it’s a group of teenagers.
The remake of Cabin Fever will apparently be just as “bloody” and just as “insane” as the original according to reports, but will it be bloody awful enough to join the unholy ranks of one of the worst horror films ever revisited, revamped, and rejigged?
Helmed by Travis Zariwny (Scavengers), the remake of Cabin Fever has been praised by the original director Eli Roth, who has returned to the scene of the crime as executive producer and has nothing but good things to say about the 2016 version.
“It’s a really fun movie. I saw the cut and thought that what Travis did was so smart – he kept the original script, but he changed the deaths, so all the kills are different. You don’t know how they’re going to come.”
The thing is we sort of do know what’s coming in a sense because it’s a remake. Having said that the jury is still out on Cabin Fever, which is more than can be said for a lot of horror remakes.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is an old adage filmmakers – in particular horror movie directors – would be well advised to pay a little more attention to. Maybe it’s their farcical predictability, their “improved” special effects, or simply the modern audience’s desensitized sensibilities, but as a rule of thumb, horror movie remakes are nowhere near as scary as the originals. Let’s have a look at seven of the worst offenders who stalk the discerning horror movies fan’s aesthetic sensibilities like seven deadly sins.
A Nightmare On Elm Street
Wes Craven’s original 1984 masterpiece created a generation of kids who were scared to fall asleep in case a psychopath in a red and black stripy jumper with knives sticking out of his hands attacked them in their dreams. Such was the power of Freddy Krueger. The 2010 remake by Samuel Bayer was pretty pointless to say the least. Not only did it lamely retread the exact same ground as the original, but it didn’t add anything new to the Krueger mythology. In fact, the new Freddy was a lot less scary, a little more boring, and completely devoid of the camp-but-sinister one-liners of Robert Englund’s original.
The 1976 dark and brooding classic by Richard Donner is a master-class in how to terrify people through subtle use of suspense, atmospherics and suggestion. The 2006 remake was merely a cash-in and rip-off of somebody else’s hard work. Consequently, and because of various other gimmicks surrounding the film, it was released on June 6, 2006, at 06:06:06 in the morning, the remake of The Omen is little more than a bad joke that would make Satan himself wince.
The Wicker Man
When The Wicker Man came out in 1973 it was about a British as a British horror film could be. It had it all. Men in dresses, uptight and puritan coppers, naked and lustful women, and odd looking village idiots whose sole purpose in life seems to be to stare surly at strangers. It was what a Carry On film would have been like if the director had been a pagan acid-casualty. However, years later and the words “American remake” and “Nicholas Cage” were enough to send shivers up the spine of aficionados of this classic film. Cage later acknowledged that the 2006 remake was “absurd.” It wasn’t, it was just crap. If you’ve seen it, try and forget about it, if you haven’t, don’t!
It’s hard to think of a more iconic moment in cinematic history than the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece. In fact the whole film is akin to a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo — you’re not going to better it, so why try? Well someone forgot to inform Gus Van Sant who in 1998 made not so much a remake of Psycho but a shot by shot and scene by scene duplicate. The only difference is in Sant’s version the performances are laughably poor, it’s gratuitously gory, it contains some unnecessary surreal imagery, and itis a lot less scary. Film fans everywhere wondered “What next? Damian Hirst’s version of the Mona Lisa?”
Rutger Hauer makes a good psychopath. It must be something to do with his cruel smile, cold eyes and wickedly fearless demeanor. In the original version of The Hitcher, he’s a mad and bad dude who’s dangerous to even look at. Rutger’s not in the 2007 remake; Mr Sean Bean is, and I think that’s all you need to know. Please, for your own sake, just keep driving and don’t slow down for this one.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
For years after its 1974 release, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was talked about in hushed tones and passed around on dodgy VHS pirate copies. It was the video that struck fear into the heart of every kid growing up in the 1980s. Anyone who’s ever watched the scene of Leatherface dressed as a woman serving dinner to the rest of his hillbilly family knows the true power of a horror film. The 2003 remake obviously doesn’t because, although it works in parts, if falls short in its efforts to capture the sheer bloody terror of the original.
The 1963 British horror about a group of paranormal investigators and a haunted house is a true psychological terror in every sense. There’s no special effects, no color, and no gore, just masterful performances and the space for the audience’s imagination to run wild. It possesses the sort of unnamable and elusive horror nightmares are made of. The 1999 remake is also the stuff nightmares are made off, but in a very different sense. It features superbly wooden performances from Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta Jones, and Owen Wilson gets decapitated, which is always nice. Needless to say, it’s always a tragedy when a film famed for its suspense and atmosphere is turned into a CGI farce.
Watch this space, or watch the film…… The choice is yours amigo.
(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)