Five kids rent a cabin in the wilds for a grad party, but bad things happen when a hermit blunders past and infects one of them with a deadly and contagious flesh-eating bug.
As tabloid frenzies go, necrotising fascitis (the so-called 'flesh-eating bug') is such a natural for a horror movie, it's a surprise it took so long to happen. Cabin Fever, though, is at least as much an entry in the backwoods menace cycle as it is an epidemic movie.
Early on, the urban interlopers are creeped out by the Deliverance-like atmosphere of the local store shack, where an albino lad sits outside biting strangers. In the woods, the bug cues memorably gruesome moments (especially the leg-shaving scene). It plays not only on the fear of disease but the way attitudes to the infected become ruthless, as the kids who dump their friend in the woodshed are turned on by rifle-toting townsfolk. There's a fine line between homage and simply stealing, but writer-director Eli Roth mostly manages the former, threading in 1970s-style elements (even the songs from Last House On The Left) while doing interesting things with some unexpected character arcs and left-field developments.
Probably the best of the current wave of back-to-the-woods horror films.