The terrifying prequel to the popular horror franchise…When a bachelor party cruise in the Caribbean unexpectedly runs ashore a medical research island a deadly flesh-eating virus is unleashed. The group struggle to find a way to survive before their own demons, and the deadly bacteria, consumes them all.
Cabin Fever 3 : Patient Zero is the first in two planned ‘prequels’ to Eli Roth’s 2002 sleeper hit Cabin Fever. I’ve highlighted the word ‘Prequel’ as I’m quite confused as to why the first two films were mentioned within the opening scenes. Anyway, onto the review. Starting off with a rather impressive title sequence which shows the aftermath of an outbreak on an undisclosed island, we are introduced to Sean Astin’s character who has somehow developed an natural immunity to the virus. He is captured and quarantined (in an underground lab where one of the pretty scientist wears the biggest 80’s style glasses you’ll ever see and there is ample cleavage on show too!) and experimented on to discover why he is immune. Elsewhere, a group of hormone fueled young adults are planning a bachelor party boat trip for their buddy. As luck would have it, their destination is the same undisclosed island where this research facility have an underground base. Upon their arrival, it soon becomes clear that the virus has become widespread on the island and all hell breaks loose.
The previous two films have been a somewhat mixed bag for me personally. The first film was great until the final act where it all came apart and the second film from what I remember (only seen it the once) had moments of fun but was average at best. This new film doesn’t involve any of the key cast or crew from the first two films so I approached with caution. This film falls into the category of the first two which means not bad but not great. The scenes involving Sean Astin’s character as patient zero did stand out for me personally being a fan of his previous work. The lab scenes that give an explanation to what the actual virus is was intriguing. These scenes do carry the film along it’s 90 minute runtime. When the film switches to it’s hormone fueled teenagers exploring the island, it doesn’t offer anything new and feels more like a remake of the first film but with a deserted island setting. The only other issue I had with it was the infected themselves. Acting more like zombies during the second and third act, it leads up to a scene where two prolonged infected women battle it out on the beach front. Whilst the SFX maybe impressive, in context with the film it’s pretty ridiculous. Apart from those observations though, there is a bit of substance and icky gooey effects work to get your teeth into. The upcoming sequel Cabin Fever : Outbreak should be interesting and will be one I keep an eye out for. Horror junkies should have a bit of fun with this one
Cabin Fever : Patient Zero arrives on Blu-ray with 1080/24p MPEG4-AVC codec that preserves the films original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Shot digitally, the super clean grain free image does look pretty good on Blu-ray despite not having the same polish as more mainstream films have. The island setting adds a lot of colour and detail and the digital photography captures the natural backdrop beautifully. I noticed that there a fair amount of usage of lens flare. Whilst this doesn’t bother me too much, I know that some viewers get annoyed by it. Finer detail is sharp and precise as expected from a recent production. The issues that I found during the viewing were that darker scenes seemed a bit noisy and reduces the detail in the picture. A drawback to digital film and it does give it a rather amateur look. I noticed that there a few scenes (setting during the daylight hours) had some digital noise creep in and gave the film a very soft look.
Cabin Fever : Patient Zero is supplied with two audio tracks. An English DTS-MA 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo. The audio on this release was pretty impressive in all honesty for a low budget production. The film’s modern score came across with a bit of aggression and power and filled the room nicely, using the LFE to full effect creating a creepy atmosphere throughout. Dialogue was clear and precise and locked to the centre channel throughout with no panning around the surround speakers. The surround activity was again pretty detailed and added a lot to the more crowded street scenes on the mainland during the first act. The films surround mix during second and third act did create some great atmosphere with the discrete sounds of the island environment keeping the front and back speakers busy.
Apart from a few start up trailers, there are no special features presented on the disc
Cabin Fever 3 was a slightly above average film. It has some dull moments but does have some interesting elements that add to the franchise. Seeing if these new elements are built upon in the upcoming Cabin Fever : Outbreak remain to be seen but fingers crossed that Sean Astin returns as he pretty much held the movie together. Audio and visual wise it’s pretty much what you would expect from a very recent production. The absence of bonus features is a bit of a drawback though. Worth a watch but don’t expect too much from it and you should find it enjoyable. Overall I would rate it 2.75