Even after acknowledging the fact that this was taken out of his hands and severely re-shot and re-edited, it’s hard to spot any traces of Ti West in this thing. I tried to see through the edits and assemble an idea of what he might have originally conceived with his shots but came to the conclusion that even in its intended shape Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever would still be a camp and colourful bubblegum gore-romp rather than the kind of meticulously controlled chiller we usually associate with West. Makes sense, given the nature of this franchise, but it might also be the reason why this pairing always seemed to be an uncomfortable fit and why this will always be the outlier in West’s filmography. It’s not really his film, after all, but even if it was it would still probably be better suited to Adam Wingard.
So, a few cameos aside (Swanberg, Fessenden), there’s not much here for Ti West completists, but how about Cabin Fever fans? Sadly, not much there either. This is a sillier, more heightened film that its predecessor, if that’s even possible, and the sole returning cast members (Rider Strong so covered in make-up his return is frankly pointless, and Giussepe Andrews as the original’s MVP Deputy Winston) feel like they’re merely cashing a quick paycheck with little effort given to retaining any sort of character continuity.
The gore gags are all in the service of escalating the absurdity and juvenilia of the original film, to the point where it rarely feels like anything less than a bunch of special effects guys throwing buckets of blood and rubber limbs around. Say what you will about Roth, but he knows how to pull off an icky shock where it counts. I really wish he had more of an active input in this thing because there was potential for a fun franchise to be spawned out of this flesh-eating muck. I get the impulse to level-up the cabin-in-the-woods playbook into another 80s horror staple – the prom night sex slasher – but this is neither clever enough about its references or serious enough about its horror to make the transition worthwhile.