This movie, I believe, was either the first by Eli Roth (or one of the first) at least in the main stream. I’m sure that this came out before Hostel did but I’m going by memory (which I probably shouldn’t since it would be easy to look up) but fuck it. This wasn’t that great of a movie anyway. It wasn’t awful either. Kind of good enough that it got me more interested in the work of Roth. Which led me to Hostel and then a few of his other movies as they started to decline in quality and I just gave up. Gave up as in, I stopped being excited for his movies. I still see them for some reason. As always, this won’t be a spoiler-free review so stop reading if you don’t want to be spoiled.
I remember only being interested in this initially because the actor who played Shawn in Boy Meets World was in it. Yes, I used to watch that show. Everyone did. I hadn’t had any concept of Rider Strong outside of that show and the trailer looked good so I headed off to see it. At the time, I hadn’t heard of any of the other actors in it even if I’ve gotten a healthy dose of them in other things at this point.
The characters are Paul, Karen, Bert, Marcy, and Jeff. They are college students who rent an isolated cabin in the woods to party and do whatever the fuck College kids do. Paul is in love with Karen but they aren’t dating yet, something about how they have been friends forever so, friendzoned I guess. Jeff and Marcy are dating and then there is Bert who is just the stereotypical college frat boy inappropriate douche. I say that as if it is a bad thing but he was actually pretty damn entertaining and made me laugh. As much as the movie is horror it’s also got a bunch of dark humor. Eli Roth movies usually do even when the subject matter is serious. Possibly why I developed a like for him in the first place.
So as they are all sitting and telling stories around the campfire, shit starts to go down. Paul tells a story about a killer at a local bowling alley. He had been disgruntled and came back to kill everyone then bowled with their body parts. He swears the story is actually true. It’s kind of a red herring set up moment to the point where some gross looking diseased hunter dude approaches their camp. They are already freaked out, and of course alcohol (and possibly weed) is involved and they end up setting him on fire. He runs off into the woods and falls in the lake or pond or something, that is hooked to their water tank. Sufficiently freaked out, the girls are all crying sad sacks and no one wants to have sex any more. Surprisingly they still stay in the cabin that night. Drinking the water. Which is contaminated. Despite shots of shit being in the water like as they drink it. In one scene it even looks like there is a tooth in the glass. Not sure how anyone wouldn’t notice that but they didn’t.
So then Karen starts to get sick since she drank the water first and the most of it. They know they need to get her help but the car is all fucked up now from the incident with the guy who tried to attack them and got lit on fire. They realize that there are now infected crazy ass zombie people in the woods and have to fix the car. Karen is slowly wasting away and her skin is falling off and shit. They keep promising her they will fix the car but they think she’s contagious so they lock her in a shack. They all start to get sick anyway so it doesn’t matter. Coughing up blood and what not. Eventually everyone dies and wild dogs attack Karen and Paul is the only one left.
He tries to go into town to get help but meets his end. Like I said, I’m doing this all from memory because I can’t be bothered to watch it again even though I do remember it as being fairly good and fairly creepy. There’s also some whole thing about a redneck kid with a bitchin mullet who knows kung fu and kills the shit out of Jeff or Bert…something like that. I think the best part of all of this is that when Jeff realizes everyone is getting sick he takes a bunch of beer and runs off to hide so he won’t get sick. He is the ultimate survivor but by that point the rednecks in the woods know that something is up with these people and when he leaves the cabin he gets shot and killed anyway.
All in all, the movie is pretty good and gory fun. The characters are somewhat realistic in this situation. More so than other movies. Especially with Jeff running off to seclude himself like he did (which to be honest is exactly what I would do because I hate germs and fuck getting sick). The effects are great, I’m willing to bet that they are all practical. Especially considering the one part with a car accident and how fake the deer looks. This was, all in all, a good debut movie for Eli Roth and if you are a fan of Rider Strong and haven’t seen him in anything but Boy Meets World, give this one a shot. I also have admiration for very pretty women who act in these movies and allow themselves to look horrific with gore makeup like Jordan Ladd did (She played Karen). This movie could be a lot worse than it actually ended up being and is worthy of entertainment for 90 minutes. Maybe a repeat watching with some friends to make fun of the whole thing.