Blu-ray Review “Cabin Fever: Patient Zero”

Actors: Sean Astin, Currie Graham, Ryan Donowho, Brando Eaton
Director: Kaare Andrews
Rated: Unrated
Studio: RLJ Entertainment
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Run Time: 95 minutes

Film: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 0 out of 5 stars

“Cabin Fever” is a great horror film and it also kick started the career of Eli Roth. The sequels/prequels to this film have been very good at all. In fact, they have been pretty bad. “Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever” was such a bad film, it was delayed for year and even had the director Ti West trying to take his name off of it. “Cabin Fever: Patient Zero” was the first of two planned prequels to reinvigorate the series, but it falls flat just like the sequel and it’s follow up film was canned already. Maybe they need to let this series die and come up with a new idea instead of just rebooting the same thing over and over. The film does have some great gore in it, kudos to that but it drags ass half way through and has no major shock factor at all. Just another unnecessary prequel. Big pass here!

Offical Premise: 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?

RLJ Entertainment released this film as a combo pack with a Blu-ray and DVD included. “Cabin Fever: Patient Zero” does look quite impressive with its 1080p transfer. The practical makeup effects looks great for sure and the locations were the film was shot are also well highlighted. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also solid especially with composer’s Kevin Riepl (Silent Night) score, which is quite rocking. In more disappointing news, if the film wasn’t bad enough there are literally no special features included on this release at all. There are trailers for “Aftermath”, “All Cheerleaders Die” and “Wolf Creek 2” at start up but nothing else.

Kevin Riepl talks about scoring the film “Cabin Fever: Patient Zero”

Kevin Riepl is the composer of horror films like “Silent Night”, “Contracted” and a segment from “The ABC’s of Death”. His latest film is the horror/thriller “Cabin Fever: Patient Zero” directed by Kaare Andrews (Altitude and The ABCs of Death) and staring Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy), Currie Graham (Pompeii, “NYPD Blue”), Ryan Donowho (Soldiers of Fortune), Mitch Ryan (“One Tree Hill”) and Jillian Murray (Bad Ass). Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Kevin about the score and working in the horror genre.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved to score the film “Cabin Fever: Patient Zero”?
Kevin Riepl: I met the director, Kaare Andrews, when we worked together on his contribution to THE ABCs OF DEATH, “V for Vagitus”. When I heard he was selected to helm CABIN FEVER: PATIENT ZERO I was eager to have a chance to work with him again. Likewise for Kaare, so we submitted my reel to the producers and once they were on board, we were all set to go.

MG: Did you look back at the previous two films for any ideas?
KR: I refreshed myself a little bit with the first film’s score. As much as we wanted to create something new, we also wanted to carry over some of the ‘rawness’ of Nathan Barr’s score and incorporate a lot of scratching and dissonance in the string instruments.

MG: What was your biggest challenge you faced with this film and was this score unique in any way from your previous scores?
KR: I think the main challenge on the film (even though it wasn’t really a big challenge) was coming up with and deciding on the palette for the score and what style would best support the story and its setting. I do believe this score is unique from any of my previous scores and that is because this film is different from previous films I’ve scored. Yes I’ve scored a decent amount of horror and thriller, but each of those has been artistically different from each other as well. A film’s story dictates the sound and style of the score. If you look back through my previous films many of the scores are quite different and unique to the film. That’s the ultimate goal – to give each film its own sound. Of course it is a collaborative effort with the director since it’s their vision, but I try to bring ideas to the table that will help their vision stand out and be that much more unique.

MG: You have worked in the horror genre before with projects like “The ABCs of Death” and “Silent Night”; what do you love about the genre itself?
KR: It’s usually dark, gritty and fantastical. Ever since I started music at a young age I’ve always wanted to explore the darker side of music, melody and sounds. As much as I love writing all styles of music, it seems that the horror genre lets me experiment a little more when writing scores. Being a creative person, how can I pass that up?

MG: “Contracted” was a sick film BTW; tell us about your process for this film?
KR: CONTRACTED, indeed, was sick and A LOT of fun to work on. Eric England is a young director and has so much to offer the film world. It was great to work with him on this film. At the very start, Eric knew he didn’t want traditional ‘horror’ music. So we approached the score with a synthetic, almost ethereal sound to help support the main character’s innocence and naiveté, until of course things start to go south. At that point I start to include more grit and experimental sounds and rhythms to help throw the viewer off balance so they can feel as much angst as the main character does as she goes through her changes.

MG: How is it going from scoring video games to TV or film? Which is more challenging?
KR: I don’t find it to be challenging. It’s all music. Yes, there are specifics and deadlines you need to be concerned about during the process of creating for each medium, but in the end it’s still about coming up with ideas and you’re still supporting story and visuals. The most important thing and it is sometimes a challenge, is scheduling…especially when you have a video game, a TV show AND a film on your plate.

MG: What else do you have in the cards coming up next?
KR: I just recently completed the action thriller THE NIGHT CREW directed by Christian Sesma. Hopefully I will have more news concerning the release of the film and an official soundtrack. Other than that, I am currently working on Ubisoft’s and Signal Studios’ TOY SOLDIERS: WAR CHEST video game as well as a small independent feature.

Blu-ray Review “The Cabin In The Woods”

Directed by: Drew Goddard
Starring: Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Jesse Williams, Kristen Connolly
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Lions Gate
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Running Time: 94 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

“The Cabin in the Woods” is one of the most original ideas for a film that I have seen in a long time. With a world of all remake and sequels, this is rare thing in Hollywood. The film was created by Drew Goddard (“Cloverfield”) and Joss Whedon (“The Avengers”). It is also a very large genre cross ranging for laugh-out-loud comedy to some sick-ass horror. The story focuses on a group of students (Kristen Connolly; Chris Hemsworth; Anna Hutchison; Fran Kranz and Jesse Williams) whole nice vacation at a secluded mountain cabin suddenly turns into a brutal fight for survival. There is so many levels to this film that I feel that even after watching it a few times, there is still so much you can miss. As I am surely not the only one this film leaves the options wide open for future installments, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. What I liked most about this film is that Drew and Joss are just big fans of themselves and they just aimed to deliver a fun and unique film. You will not be disappointing.

The Blu-ray presentation is very impressive and really delivers on all accounts. Lionsgate also released this film as a combo pack, so you get a Blu-ray disc of the film and also a digital copy. With the digital copy, you are able to choose between iTunes download or an Ultraviolet digital streaming copy. The latter is easily the smarter choice of the two. The 1080p transfer looks absolutely amazing especially during the last 30 minutes. It is also presented its 2.39:1 original aspect ratio. The main star of this film is a truly amazing 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. When things get crazy in this film, that track really gets a nice work out.

The special features are just as impressive as the film is and does not disappoint for its fans.
There is an awesome audio commentary with writer/director Drew Goddard and writer/producer Joss Whedon, fans of the film are going to slow this! There is an really in-depth and informative behind-the-scenes documentary called “We Are Not Who We Are: Making The Cabin in the Woods”. There is a two-part featurette called “The Secret Secret Stash”, including “Marty’s Stash” and “Hi, My Name is Joss, and I’ll Be Your Guide”. Great stuff here! There is also two more Behind-the-scenes featurettes including “An Army of Nightmares: Make-Up & Animatronic Effects” and “Primal Terror: Visual Effects”, both of these are easily my favorite extras. You can also catch the fun “Wonder-Con Q&A with Joss and Drew”. Lastly there is a BLu-ray exclusive extra, which is the icing on the cake, called “It’s Not What You Think: The Cabin in the Woods Bonus View Mode”, I am going to leave that one as a surprise because it is AWE….SOME!!!

Book Review “The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Movie Novelization”

Author: Tim Lebbon
Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: April 17, 2012

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Official novelizations have never really been my cup-of-tea. “The Cabin in the Woods” is really no different. The film is so unique and really has to be seen in experience. I am personally a very visual person anyway. If you still prefer to read, I would check out the Official Visual Companion. Read our review here, this book is worth reading immediately…once if you’ve seen the film of course.

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard did such a great job with this story, changing the face of horror.  I just feel that changing it even so slightly for mass market paperback, doesn’t seem worth it.  The author, Tim Tibbons, is also known for this NY Times Bestselling novelization of the movie “30 Days of Night”. A friend of mine did an excellent job of describing this film as an onion, with each layer being peeled off slowly and reveals new surprises throughout.  I can only really experience this to be enjoyed having actually watched the film.

I can really see this book only appealing to MEGA fans of Joss Whedon, who need to have everything that he is related to.  This book also comes with unnecessary back story for the characters, which isn’t really unless needed as filler for this novel. But then again, like I said in general I am not a big fan of film novelizations. If you would like to experience “The Cabin in the Woods”, I would highly recommend just seeing the movie yourself. Just go see it! You won’t regret it.

Book Review “The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion”

Author(s): Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: April 17, 2012

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Joss Whedon is literally a God amongst his fans.  He is the creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”,”Firefly” and “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog”, just to name a few.  He also wrote/directed a little film called “Marvel’s The Avengers”.  Match that with the genius of Drew Goddard, writer of “Cloverfield” & “Serenity” and you get one of the best horror film of the year.  This book is official visual companion and it is easily the best companion book that I have ever seen.  It is not only caters to fans of Whedon but all horror fans a like.

This book features an amazing 40-pages visual in-depth interview with both Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard.  It simply answers ever single question any fan can have about the film and its production.  It also includes the full screenplay by Whedon and Goddard accompanied by some fantastic production art and hundreds of color photos.  The images included are really high quality and although no hardcover it still looks great.  Lastly the film goes into great details on the film’s creatures, but I will stop there as not to spoil anything.

Be warned if you have not seen this film, do not pick it up prior to watching since it contains mucho spoilers.  If you have seen the film then you can’t pick it up quicker as it is not only super descriptive about the film but it encompasses every aspect a fan can wish for. Overall this book is really well produced by Titan Books, who delivered yet another amazing release.  They are the best when it comes to providing fans with the official visual companions.

Film Review “The Cabin in the Woods”

Directed by: Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford
Distributed by: Lionsgate Entertainment
Running time: 105 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

In this campy horror film, five young adults plan a vacation in the woods at a cabin only to end up with a lot more than they expected. This movie starts out as what one would presume is your typical comedy/horror film. Although it takes a whole other angle and leaves the audiences surprised. I would have to say that this is a must see if you like quirky movies and especially if you are a Joss Whedon fan, who co-wrote and produced.

When the group ends up at this cabin in the middle of the woods, they are just looking at an secluded escape from daily life. If the location wasn’t creepy enough, the house is filled with animal heads mounted on the walls, a one way mirror hidden behind a gruesome picture and a cellar filled to the brim with odd knickknack and trinkets from times past. The quintuplet of friends soon find themselves in the middle of a horror story, unable to escape what turns out to be a ritual killing with a much much bigger picture.

If you are already familiar with other works by Joss Whedon, then early on you will begin to recognize faces. If your like me and love his work, you’ll get more and more excited as the movie progresses. With a menagerie of familiar and new actors and a story only Joss Whedon could weave, this movie proves to be a perfect blend of horror and comedy. I felt that it rides the fine line between the two genres expertly. I have seen many films but this theater experience was just amazing.  The audience was totally just glued to the screen, as was I.  This film will not disappoint.

FREE TICKETS to Advance Orlando FL Screening of “The Cabin in the Woods” [ENDED]

“The Cabin in the Woods” is an horror/comedy film, co-written and directed by Drew Goddard and co-written and produced by Joss Whedon. It stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Jesse Williams, Anna Hutchison, and Fran Kranz. Lionsgate is releasing the film on Friday, April 13, 2012.

Media Mikes like would to offer its readers a chance to see this highly talked about film before anyone else. If you are in the Orlando, FL area and would like to enter to win ticket this, head over to our Facebook page, LIKE it and then leave us a comment with your favorite Joss Whedon project and be sure to use the hash tag #CabinintheWoods.

The screening is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 9th, 2012 at the AMC Altamonte at 7:30pm. We suggest you arrive to the screening at least one hour in advance in order to get a seat. Admittance is not guaranteed with ticket and entry is first come first serve. The tickets will be distributed through Good luck and thanks for visiting


A group of friends at a cabin retreat scratch the surface of something so massive and horrific that they can only begin to fathom it as time quickly runs out.