Welcome to Will Mom Like This? an exploration into the trials and tribulations of sharing your favorite scary movies with family. Sharing movies with loved ones is a beautiful thing. As beautiful as it is, I think we have all experienced moments so uncomfortable you wish the couch would swallow you whole. In this monthly column, I’m going to try and help you avoid that as much as possible. My hope is that this will work as a sort of guide for you to know when you should excuse yourself to refill the popcorn bowl and avoid the wrath of a disgruntled or disgusted parent. Be warned, we will be discussing a lot of plot spoilers but only so we don’t spoil a perfectly good evening with your folks.
This month at Nightmare on Film Street, we are celebrating the art of the horror remake. A remake provides the wonderful opportunity to reimagine, or reinvent the plot, characters, and themes of a movie and updating it to speak to the current moment. However, the horror movie remake that I chose to subject my mom to this month does none of those things. Instead, I showed her Cabin Fever (2016). For those who are blissfully unaware, the original Cabin Fever, co-written and directed by Eli Roth, came out in 2002, and a mere 14 years later it was time for this story to be revisited, with Roth back on board as co-writer (because they used the same script) and executive producer. Why would they do this? I have no idea. Will my mom like this? Read on and find out!
I would be remiss not to mention that my mother and I both started out our viewing of this movie already pissed off. In preparation for experiencing the remake, we chose to watch the original Cabin Fever. As a brief review, I fell asleep and my mom did not like it. Already, my mom was angry and confused that she essentially had to watch the movie she didn’t like again. I tried to combat the negativity by making some popcorn and cracking open some beer, I really tried to make an event of it.
My efforts were derailed when after creating a Peacock account and selecting the title that read Cabin Fever (2016), with the cast list from Cabin Fever (2016) and the poster art for Cabin Fever (2016), we hit play only for it to be the 2002 original. I felt my brain exploding. I was furious. Peacock had lied to me and now I had to pay $3.99 to rent this garbage movie on Apple TV. So, we were not in the best mood. And then the movie begins with the theme from The Shining which lead my mom to yell “how DARE they.” This did not bode well for our viewing experience.
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Sex and Nudity
Now as for the actual movie itself, Cabin Fever (2016) follows five college aged buddies as they embark on a vacation to a cabin in the woods, only to discover that there is a flesh eating virus ravaging all living things in the vicinity. I know that premise alone doesn’t sound overtly sexy, but trust me when I say that Cabin Fever (2016) is an incredibly horny movie. I thought that surely this would be a goldmine of uncomfortable mom content, but it pains me to say that for the most part, the sex scenes weren’t at all uncomfortable because they were just too fast, too loud, and too confusing. It seemed like my mom was more disoriented than anything by the aggressive nature of these scenes.
There is a pivotal turning point in Cabin Fever (2016) that utilizes an intimate scene to reveal that one character, Karen (Gage Golightly), has contracted the virus. In the 2002 original film, Karen (Jordan Ladd) is asleep when Paul (Rider Strong) decides to start fondling her, only to discover that the flesh of her inner thigh is beginning to melt off in his hands. As my mom put it, “That’s what you get, a hand full of girl goo.” Happily, one change that was made for Cabin Fever (2016) is that Karen is awake and a willing participant which made us feel better. Again, that sex scene wasn’t even awkward for either my mother or myself because we were both just so relieved that she was awake for it.
The Remake Factor
Like I mentioned earlier, Cabin Fever (2016) is a pretty unique remake in the way that it uses the same script from the original. My mom caught on very quickly that this was the same movie with the same dialogue as she was quoting along to the scenes. Surprisingly, she remembered way more from the original than I did as she continued to cut off the actors’ lines, finishing them for them and then saying “I knew that.” I had to turn off the subtitles at a certain point when she got so bored that she would just recite the scenes word for word as they were happening. However, turning off the subtitles did not prevent her from calling out every detail that was about to happen in every scene, so I just had to let her have that one.
Blood & Guts
If I were forced to identify the biggest difference between Cabin Fever (2016) and the 2002 original, it would probably have to be the uptick in gore and spurting blood. Man can these kids SPEW. The consistent projectile vomiting of blood was not at all appreciated by my mom, but like many aspects of this movie, it became so overdone that she was no longer phased by it. She quickly observed something that also bothers me a lot about Cabin Fever (2016) which is the fact that the two female characters die horrific, prolonged, and at least semi-nude deaths, while all the male characters are killed swiftly and fully clothed. By the end of the movie, the only comment that she had when we see an entire titty come off of a girl’s body was “boo, zero stars.” Suffice to say, Cabin Fever (2016) is a very graphic movie which is something you should keep in mind if you watch this with a parent (spoiler: you should not).
Cabin Fever (2016) is a slog, and especially with the original movie so fresh in our minds, my mom did not even pretend to have any patience for this one. Granted, it probably didn’t help that I kept providing updates about just how much movie there was left. Upon our first check in, when I told her we were 18 minutes in and she groaned for a very long time. I cannot stress enough how much this is the same movie as the original, and there is really not a lot of value to be gained from watching the two back to back, as is evidenced by just how bored my mom got as we watched.
She picked up her laptop in the middle of it saying that she “got a text” and had to read it, but I looked over and she was just reading People Magazine online. I didn’t try to stop her. She tuned back in after what must have been the eighth ineffective jump scare in under ten minutes and said “there’s nothing even scary about this, it’s just irritating,” followed by a pointed belch.
“[…] Cabin Fever (2016) is a very graphic movie which is something you should keep in mind if you watch this with a parent (spoiler: you should not).”
Things got so bleak that I briefly considered turning the movie off and lying for this article, but my mom said “no don’t, maybe I’ll say something clever,” so we soldiered on. I was also shot down in my desire to take a break and watch this movie in parts and now feels like a good time to mention that Cabin Fever (2016) is under 100 minutes long. Despite our vivid memory of the 2002 film, the remake still managed to trick us with multiple false endings, each one only increasing the blind rage factor mentioned previously.
My mom began outright wishing that the townies would murder the kids so that the movie would be over. During one scene transition we were both absolutely positive it had to be over, but when it cut to the next day instead, my mom stomped her foot on the ground in sheer frustration. When the credits finally did roll, the exact words out of her mouth were “boo, hiss, boo, worst movie ever.”
Miscellaneous Pearls of Wisdom
While I tried to fit all of my mom’s complaints and suggestions for Cabin Fever (2016) into the categories above, some of her input just could not be forced into such confines, so allow me to display those below.
- “I hate this movie even more than I thought I was gonna hate it.”
- “We went from Train to Busan to this crap?!”
- “Too much cursing.”
- “Why that movie was made twice I’ll never know.”
- “Worst piece of crap I’ve seen in my life.”
- When asked for her final thoughts: “Ugh.”
But Did Mom Like It?
So the time came to ask the question, did Mom like that? I didn’t feel like I had to ask, but before I even had the chance to pose the question, my mom shouted “Will Mom like it?! Absolutely not!” So there you have it, 0/5 Moms would recommend. While I had anticipated that Cabin Fever (2016) wouldn’t become my mom’s new favorite movie anytime soon, I had not steeled myself for the possibility of such an explosive reaction. But that’s not to say it was unwarranted. Previously, my thoughts on this movie were ones of general confusion that it got made at all, so soon after the original, and with so few changes. But now dear reader, after this experience with my mom, I have turned the corner into abject disdain. Cabin Fever (2016) has skyrocketed up the list of my mortal enemies, to a spot right under Peacock streaming service.
Would you ever watch Cabin Fever (2016) with a parental figure? Would you ever watch Cabin Fever (2002) with a parental figure? Can anyone put me in contact with Eli Roth so he can refund me four dollars for my Apple TV purchase? Let us know what scary movie you have always wanted to watch with your parents over on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit. and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club. We’ll do our best to give you a heads up of everything you’ll want to avoid, but don’t blame us if they disown you!