Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
A group of friends planned the perfect vacation in the Caribbean, but when they head ashore to explore a remote island, their ultimate bachelor weekend devolves into their worst nightmare. After an ill-fated swim in contaminated water, they stumble upon a seemingly abandoned research facility where a deadly, flesh-eating virus has been unleashed. In the aftermath of a massacre, the only people left alive are a handful of secretive medical personnel and “Patient Zero” (Sean Astin), the lone person who’s been exposed to the disease and shows no symptoms. Can they find a way to survive and escape, or will the virus consume them all in a bloodbath of chaos and carnage?

Film (2 out of 5 stars)
Marcus (Mitch Ryan, CW’s “One Tree Hill”) is about to get married in the Caribbean. His brother and friends Dobs (Ryan Donowho, A Home at the End of the World), Josh (Brando Eaton, ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of an American Teenager” and Penny (Jillian Murray, Bad Ass) have surprised Marcus with a bachelor party getaway. Marcus’ fiancĂ©e tells him she’ll be doing boring family stuff and convinces him to go and enjoy himself. The plan is to take a chartered boat to a remote island for a little relaxation.

Once the friends make their way to the island, they split up. Two of them snorkel, while the other prepare to camp. While swimming they notice that first there are no fish, and eventually they discover the bodies of the dead fish. The water has been contaminated by a nearby research facility. Porter (Sean Astin, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Goonies) is being kept in the facility against his will. A deadly flesh-eating virus has wreaked havoc on everyone it’s come into contact with, except Porter. 

For some reason, Porter is immune to the virus. The scientists on the island led by Dr. Edwards (Currie Graham, Pompeii) study Porter’s blood to find a cure. Porter’s son has been killed by the virus and the doctors tell him that he must cooperate if he wants to see his wife again. Porter realizes that he’s not only a cure for the disease, but also a carrier and he doesn’t believe the doctors will let him leave. Back on the beach, Penny starts to show signs on the virus. 

At first her symptoms are skin irritation and small hives. Soon, her skin is rotting off her body as the virus takes hold. The friends are desperate for help and cannot reach their boat. By radio they reach Dr. Edwards, who tells them to come to the facility for help. He promises EMTs and medicine but when they arrive they find most of the staff dead or infected.
Reviewing horror movies is hit or miss with me. I have a fondness for bad (in a good way) horror but sometimes get fooled into watching a bad (in a bad way) horror film. When a film looks questionable, the first thing I check is whether it’s Blu-ray or DVD. This film is on Blu-ray and stars Sean Astin so I decided to give it a chance. I remember enjoying but being slightly grossed out by the first Cabin Fever and I was curious if this one would be as gruesome as the first one or not.

I must be getting old because I no longer have a taste for the blood and guts horror films. A true lover of zombie flicks, the rotting flesh in Cabin Fever: Patient Zero was too much. When half dead chicks start to fight, you cringe knowing chunks of hair and flesh are about to fly. True to the original Cabin Fever, people who clearly don’t feel well decide to have sex leaving one man with a mouthful of blood and flesh before his partner vomits blood in his face. This was too much gore. To some people, that’s a plus.

After a little internet research I discover that this is the third Cabin Fever film. There was a second film called Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever where the virus rages at a high school prom. Figuring out the plot of this film is not reliant on having seen Cabin Fever or Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever. If you liked one, you’ll probably like them all. If I want to see this much blood and gore, I’d rather watch one of the Saw films, or a true zombie flick – during which I’m oddly not grossed out at all.
Video (3 out of 5 stars)
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is available on AVC encoded Blu-ray in 1080p high definition and 2.39:1 ratio. The Blu-ray comes with an additional disc with the DVD copy of the film. Much of the film is inside the poorly lit research facility or in the moonlight on the beach and I wasn’t taken back by any of the usual complaints. The detail evident in the color and texture of the blood (unfortunately for me) added to the realism of the effects. 
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
Both screams for help and whispers while in danger can be heard clearly throughout the film. The DTS-HD Master Audio mix provides an immersive experience with authentic, gag worthy sounds throughout. You’ll hear the flesh tear and the blood gush on Blu-ray.
Extras (0 out of 5 stars)
The Blu-ray and DVD discs contain no special features.
Summary (2 out of 5 stars)
The best part of the film for me was the snippets of information that came during the credits. You see how the virus originated and spread and what the research facility was like when it was full of healthy scientists. If you’re looking for a bloodbath, this is the film for you. The flesh eating virus and the frequent blood vomiting episodes turned out to be a bit much for me. Sean Astin is very good in this film as the grieving father with anger brewing as he sits in captivity. Astin fans who aren’t ready for all the carnage probably won’t stop gagging long enough to notice his performance. I recommend this to fans of bloody horror films, but the squeamish should beware.            

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