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Kaare Andrews
Sean Astin, Ryan Donowho, Brando Eaton, Jillian Murray, Mitch Ryan
Writing Credits:
Jake Wade Wall

The Birth of Fear

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?

Not Rated

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $34.97
Release Date: 9/2/2014

• DVD Copy
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Cabin Fever: Patient Zero [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 1, 2014)

Jerry: “What, you rented Home Alone?”

George: “Yeah.”

Jerry: “I thought you saw that already.”

George: “No, I saw Home Alone II.”

Jerry: “Oh, right. But you hated it!”

George: “Well I was lost, I never saw the first one.”

I present this Seinfeld exchange as a preface to my screening of 2014’s Cabin Fever: Patient Zero. The third in the franchise, I never viewed the 2002 original or 2009’s Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever.

So why start with the third in the series? Because the studio offered me a review copy and it sounded potentially interesting. That was good enough to send Patient Zero into my Blu-ray player.

In the Dominican Republic, a deadly virus spreads through a remote area and threatens to turn into a global pandemic. Only one survivor emerges: Porter (Sean Astin), a man the authorities dub “Patient Zero”, as he appears to be the only known carrier of the disease. After months of detainment and experiments, Porter attempts to deal with his captors.

In the meantime, a bunch of 20-something-year-old friends take a bachelor cruise in the Caribbean prior to the wedding of Marcus (Mitch Ryan) and Kate (Claudette Lali). As part of their trip, they find themselves on the same island where Porter remains located. Bad things happen.

Over the years, I’ve complained about the overuse of handheld camerawork a lot. After watching Zero, I feel tempted to go back to the filmmakers I criticized in earlier reviews and apologize - outside of Paul Greengrass and “found footage” films, few compare with the photographic horrors on display here.

Zero comes with easily some of the most obnoxious, nonsensical “shakycam” I’ve ever seen. The camera bobs and weaves so much of the time that it feels like every scene takes place on the water. This effect becomes so intense that it literally made some parts of the movie unwatchable; as the camera heaved and nothing stayed steady, the film turned into a jerky, nausea-inducing mess.

Not that I think Zero would’ve offered much even had it boasted superior cinematography, as nothing else about the film delivers any form of subtlety or effective movie-making. Characters and story seem superfluous the vast majority of the time. Sure, we get rudimentary background for the main participants, but we never develop any interest in them, and neither does the film itself; the people exist essentially to become victims.

Zero also often stretches credulity to advance its threadbare narrative. Some of that comes from the cavalier manner in which characters get exposed to the virus; those medical scientists don’t seem to worry a whole lot about contagion, as they take precious few precautions.

Perhaps even more bizarre, Zero stacks the deck for sex appeal where none would logically exist. Three others accompany Marcus on the cruise: brother Josh (Brando Eaton) and pals Penny (Jillian Murray) and Dobbs (Ryan Donawho).

Kate excuses Penny’s presence on the male-oriented trip because she’s “one of the guys”. Seriously? Has Kate actually seen Penny? But the movie doesn’t want to be a sausage-fest, so logic be damned – Penny goes on the boat! And then there’s the medical lab with the scientist who walks around with her shirt largely unbuttoned all the time – I’m sure that happens at most of the major research facilities.

Look, I get this is a genre film whose audience expects that kind of T&A, and I’m fine with that. I just would like to see more effort put into the logical inclusion of these elements rather than what we get here: idiocy that forces the viewer to ignore any form of intelligence to accept events. That goes for every aspect of the story, too, not just for the unrealistic inclusion of hot babes.

Really, Zero exists just to show us a lot of gross-out effects, and if you like that, you’ll probably enjoy the movie. It ladles on the gore with one disgusting scene after another.

I don’t mind the nastiness on display, as I can take that sort of footage. However, I’d like to see the gore service the story and not the reverse, which is what we find here. Zero invents disgusting gags and builds a movie around them, a development that leaves us with a dull affair almost wholly devoid of entertainment value.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus D-

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. From start to finish, the transfer seemed strong.

Sharpness looked good. No issues with softness occurred, as the movie remained tight and precise at all times. Jaggies and shimmering failed to distract, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie also lacked any source flaws and was consistently clean.

In terms of colors, Zero often went with subdued tones, as the movie tended toward an amber feel; some blues cropped up during medical scenes and beach shots gave us livelier hues. These looked appropriate and filled out well. Blacks were pretty deep, and shadows were well-depicted. The image offered a solid “A-” presentation.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Zero, the soundfield seemed aggressive – maybe too aggressive, as the mix went a bit nuts on us. All five speakers got a good workout, with unique sounds that went to each channel but that also blended together neatly and largely seamlessly.

That was good, but the incessant activity of the mix could be a distraction. The audio assaulted us so much of the time that it made the material less effective. Some parts worked fine, but others wore out their welcome with the overly intense audio.

The quality appeared solid. Dialogue seemed natural and clear; I had no problems with intelligibility, though the aggressiveness of the mix occasionally made it tough to hear the lines. Music was rich and crisp, as the score sounded appropriately deep and lively.

Effects were positive, as they appeared realistic and vivid. The soundtrack displayed fine dynamic range, with clean highs and deep bass. Some of the mix seemed terrific, but the lack of nuance and restraint knocked my grade down to a “B”.

The disc opens with ads for Aftermath, All Cheerleaders Die and Wolf Creek 2. The package also includes a DVD copy of Patient Zero but we get no movie-specific extras.

Burdened with a slew of defects, Cabin Fever: Patient Zero fails in almost every conceivable way. From an illogical story to boring characters to oppressive music to distracting camerawork, nothing here succeeds. The Blu-ray comes with excellent visuals, good – though overactive – audio and no supplements. Maybe fans of the prior Cabin Fever films will like this one, but I didn’t.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
1 3:
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