Fever is out, catch it

Eli Roth relied on the horror genre’s history to create the classic tale behind Cabin Fever. It had a brief theatrical run, but, seeing as it was made with a shoe-string budget of $1.5 million, the movie was surprisingly well done and is now available on DVD. Viewers can judge its quality for themselves.

Roth’s freshman directorial and screenwriting venture paid off as Fever is a bright spot in a genre overtaken by gore-lite, PG-13 flicks such as The Ring and Darkness Falls.

The DVD’s features are also a pleasant surprise with decent audio/video transfer, offering a choice of five different commentaries and an abundance of other special features.

The movie is a classic tale in the sense that it tells a recognizable story. It can’t, however, resist the obvious pitfalls or the hopeless teens bound for certain death. In it, a group of teens decide to spend some R&R time away from the city. What they don’t expect is that a flesh-eating virus has other plans.

After the first nameless teen (who audiences could care less about) bites the dust, the anxiety washes over to the remaining teens, overwhelming them with paranoia and stinging them with fear. And, because you just can’t stop wondering what a cast member of Boys Meets World is doing now, here he is: Rider Strong (known as Shawn to fans of the show) delivers a generic performance with a few memorable scenes strung throughout the movie.

The disc has some rather interesting extras, the best of which are two different versions of the movie. “Family Version” runs about eight to 10-minutes and is mostly just the opening peaceful sequence, while the “Chick Version” is the film in its entirety except with hands appearing on your screen to cover up scenes that would upset the female audience. Both of these serve for good laughs and a new way to look at the movie.

Of the five audio commentaries, the only one worth checking out is Roth’s. His genuine love and enthusiasm for the genre is contagious. Even if time is not an issue, the other four commentaries are a very constructive waste of it.

Beneath the Skin is a making-of documentary that takes viewers on location to see Fever from pre-production discussion until its actual filming, which makes for a special DVD highlight.

Wrapping up the DVD is the usual promotional material along with “Pancakes,” which shows Dennis the pancake kid jamming to metal in a gay bar.

This film incorporates elements from classics such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and weaves it into a witty story. It’s just a shame that more DVDs aren’t as nicely packaged as Fever.