Inane movie remakes have started to resemble Gus Van Sant’s disastrous 1998 shot-for-shot version of Psycho. Taking a cracking original and deciding to film it exactly the same way, you might expect that the result would be a simulacra of the first, albeit with different actors and contemporary fashion. Alas, the Vince Vaughn-starrer failed at every hurdle – but mainly from a lack of charisma between any of the characters.
So, it was interesting to note that Eli Roth had boarded a remake late last year as an executive producer, which proposed to do exactly the same thing. Except, the film in question was Roth’s own horror breakout Cabin Fever. In an unusual twist of events, Roth enthused about the movie then and he’s still excited about it now.
Travis Zariwny (Intruder) directed the remake, along with Evan Astrowsky (who also produced the original film), Chris Lemole and Tim Zajaros. During an interview with IGN (via Dread Central). Eli Roth was asked on the status of the movie and his thoughts on how Zariwny and his team sculpted it:
“They came to me exactly a year ago and said, ‘We want to remake Cabin Fever using your original script,’ You’ve got to realize that from an egotistical point of view, I wrote Cabin Fever when I was 22 years old. Right out of university. And for six years everyone told me, ‘This is an un-makeable piece of shit.’ So the fact that the same script would get made twice and that 20 years later, 20 years after I originally wrote it, it got sent around Hollywood and people were reading the same dialogue. I looked at it as like staging a play – as an experiment I just wanted to see how it would turn out. So I came on as one of the executive producers.
“I saw the cut and thought that what Travis Zariwny 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. I was watching it and he didn’t tell me that he did that and I was so happy he did – because nobody wants to see a re-do that’s the same thing that they already know. So he leads you in one direction with the audience thinking that they know what’s coming, then puts a fantastic spin on it. And it looks awesome – it’s a really fun movie. I’m happily surprised at how it’s turned out.”
Roth points out a key stumbling block that most contemporary horrors succumb to – retracing every nuance, direction and interpretation outlined in existing genre titles. That loyal tactic, embraced so fully in the name of homage, rarely leaves any room for new artistic interpretation. And the finished film is often boring. With Roth promising that this new take on his repugnant debut comes packed with new kills, there’s every chance that this Cabin Fever will be an unexpected surprise.