Five young friends, Paul (Samuel Davis), Karen (Gage Golightly), Bert (Dustin Ingram), Jeff (Matthew Daddario) and Marcy (Nadine Crocker) rent a cabin in the woods for a week-long getaway. The teen stereotypes are pretty much the same as usual, involving the sexually passionate Jeff and Marcy, the more innocent Paul and Karen, and the comedy relief, Bert.
While the couples are off being romantic with one another, Bert runs into the woods with a rifle, shooting at nothing, and nails a hermit who has been infected with some sort of flesh-eating disease. Bert tells him to stay while he goes for help, but never reports the encounter with any of his friends. It eventually catches up with them, however, when the hermit comes to the cabin, asking for help, leading to the group of friends fending him off. In the aftermath, Karen starts showing signs of the mysterious disease, and the rest of the film is a teenager cabin in the woods horror where instead of a killer, of zombies, the monster is a deadly infection.
What I found kind of interesting about this was that it kept you guessing as to where exactly this infection could have come from. At one point, a kid bites Paul, at another, you see Karen drinking water, and above all else, you have the infected hermit. It's a movie that manages to highlight some of the most horrific aspects of disease, so it may not be the best place to look for a fun horror movie at this point in time. Indeed, it's movies like this that made me stay away from my job for a little while when Covid started showing rising numbers here in Canada. It's altogether uncomfortable and unpleasant and makes one wince in pain just by looking. And as far as I understand Eli Roth's mentality, he'd be super proud of that, as the film's producer.
So, here's the thing about this movie. As far as a horror movie that makes me uncomfortable at almost every turn, and something that makes me squirm, I have to admit that it succeeds. That said, it may be because I never saw the 2002 version, which is evidently better, as this appears to be a shot-for-shot remake. I believe this one just has a different ending. It seems to me that what happened here was Roth wanting to pull a Lucas and touch up his original artwork. However, it seems evident that it wasn't broke, and didn't really need fixing. This is further proof that sometimes it's better to leave well enough alone, or at least have something alternative on the DVD and/or Blu-ray.
Maybe it's just me, but for what this is, I didn't think it was all that bad. It's gross, it's not my kind of horror, and I feel like I need a hot, thorough shower after watching it. But I might just chalk it up to being "not for me", along with so many other works of Roth's. It makes me wonder if a lot of people who give this a pass only ever saw this version of it, though, much like myself. When all said and done, all I really think is that the 2002 version is something I should probably check out, because if it's the same movie, I'll be able to frown on this one a little harder than I do.