Thursday, June 16, 2011

Capsule reviews: Cabin Fever, Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip

Cabin Fever (2002, Eli Roth)

A small group of young adults (Rider Strong, James Debello, Cerina Vincent, Jordan Ladd) head to a cottage in the woods, seeking a fun filled time of relaxing and parties.Little do they know that a flesh eating virus is taking over the region, without pity and without prejudice.

Eli Roth is a director who receives plenty of flack, be it for the gratuitous violence that overflows in his films, his acting skills whenever on screen, or simply his persona when interviewed. I am not sure why some people are consistently the target of such disdain, but such is the case with Roth. As for myself, I cannot say I adore his films either, but, despite its flaws, Cabin Fever just might be some of his better work. The premise to a horror film need not be complex. All it must do is set up what is to come and, if it can find the time, maybe set up the characters a little bit. Cabin Fever accomplishes this task with reasonable success, particularly with regards to the hopeful romance between the characters played by Rider Strong and Jordan Ladd. For the most part, the people that inhabit this movie world  are caricatures. That in of itself can be a plus within the horror genre because certain because the worse the caricature, the more pleasurable the feeling when that character is offed. Cabin Fever takes these people and thrusts them into a rather schlocky misadventure where the deaths are as grisly as they come, especially when you can literally feel yourself dying a slow, grotesque death (like, for example, witnessing one's own skin peel off strip by strip). My only complaint is that the characters commit really, really stupid acts. They exemplify a stupidity on par with that found in countless other horror flicks for which the viewer is left scratching his or her head in disbelief. I mean, they know at one point that one of their own is infected, so why in heavens name should they keep touching that person? That being said, the manner in which the Cerina Vincent is killed off is pretty cool. Overall, the movie is fine, if far from perfect.

Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip (1982, Joe Layton)

Huh, a project like this can actually have a single director's name attached to it. Interesting...

Well, Richard Pryor Love on the Sunset Strip is, in a nutshell, about Richard Pryor live on the Sunset strip.

Admittedly I missed the beginning to the show because I got home a bit later than I wanted to, but since there is no plot, I don't think that really matters. Other than his performance in Superman III, I had never seen any legitimate work from Pryor, so it was nice to finally discover this film and some more of the man's work. A pretty funny guy, tackling issue of race relations (don't a lot of comics do that anyhow?), his trip to Africa (interestingly enough, he doesn't exactly say where in Africa he went to. It kind of reminded of those movies that show, at the bottom of the picture 'off the coast of Africa' There are two entire seas and two entire oceans that touch Africa!), his youth, etc. I guess if you are familiar with Pryor's work and enjoy it, give Sunset Strip a chance. Otherwise, avoid.

1 comment:

French Toast Sunday said...

I just watched Cabin Fever not too long ago for the second time and wasn't really impressed either. The first time I caught it I remember the characters really bothering me too. I gave it another chance because I always hear horror fans rave about it but I think it's just an average movie overall. I liked a few bits here and there but as a whole it's not a strong film.