This film had so much going for it... and, sorry to say, so much going against it.
Here is your basic cabin in the wood on a lake horror yarn. A group of twenty-something friends decided to spend Independence Day together at a cabin one of their fathers has just bought. Unfortunately, something is wrong with the coke they've brought along and soon the madness begins.
So what has the film got going for it... The Director, Jason William Lee, has a decent eye for composition and some of the camera shots are really nice and interesting. The opening credits are the Horror genre's version of a Bond movie opening sequence; this is both beautiful and disturbing - I loved it and it really piqued my curiosity for the rest of the film. I also really loved the lake section, filled with lens flare, haze, and colour defusing. Also, the simple distortions, which represented the druggies vision, worked well.
The Story... Lee has come up with a secret organisation who are carrying out experiments on people they've kidnapped. This reminded me of Stephen King's clandestine "The Company" out of Firestarter. I do like a good conspiracy.
The Characters... Though most are your stereotypical cast it was the end sequence that really sent a cold shiver down my spine. The Husband and Wife looking over their guineapigs - this scene is still in my mind; nice work Mr Lee.
The Special Effects... Most are basic, and nothing new to write about, however, the girl on the bed is awesome. Just look at that chewed through left ankle... it's hanging on by a thread of flesh. Ouch!
But then there are the faults... Though I liked most of Lee's shooting, the one thing which really did diminish the film for me, especially because it had been so good up to this point, the hunger-raving cannibals. It would have been nice to keep the ingenuity coming instead of just going for the mindless running about, growling, and biting. How much scarier would they be if they still had a rational mind? They could have become cunning instead of just single-mindedly fulfilling their baser urges. Also, the attacks and kills could have been choreographed better. Lee does a good job at structuring his shots, but here it just gets messy. A major let down.
The Story & The Characters... in a lot of ways reminded me of Cabin Fever, it would have been good to create a couple of original characters instead of relying on the tried and tested. Though these are twenty-somethings, you could easily interchange them with any of the innumerable teens that usually end up in these situations. But hey, this is a horror film, so this is expected... to a degree... but it does wear thin. Also, did it have to take part in a secluded cabin on a hard to get to island... which, surprise surprise, has no cell reception... go figure!
However, the good does outweigh the bad, though this could have been a horror movie to talk about. At least it's worth a watch, if only once. So I'd recommend this to fans of the mad professor and cannibals.