Film Review: “Cannibal Holocaust”

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Cannibal Holocaust, 1980

dir. Ruggero Deodato


Have you ever regretted something? So much you just want to wipe it out of your memories? Well, this movie is it for me. I just want to forget I ever watched it. Forever.

You might think it’s something on the realms of “oh, that’s so disgusting” or “come on, man up, it’s just a little blood” – well, my friend, it isn’t. This movie isn’t illegal in a dozen countries for nothing.

The OED classified “gruesome” as something that “causes repulsion or horror”. I cannot call this movie gruesome. It goes beyond gruesome. It shows a side of the human nature that you just don’t want to believe exists, but you know it does. But not in a good, reflective way, no. It’s all about the blood, the cruelty towards animals and women, the rapes, the severed limbs… It’s horrible and distasteful, and even Deodato knows so – he himself has said that he regrets ever making this movie.

Technically, it really isn’t that good. The sound is just horrible, and I don’t know what was going on there. Especially in the beginning, you could really notice how out-of-sync it was. But you get past that. Why? Because everything else makes the sound really the best part of the whole picture. (actually, the music bit was in fact quite interesting, because they combined a lovely upbeat tune with the disgusting murders… the juxtaposition was amusing)

The acting, though. Just… abysmal. Seriously. It was just… Oh, I can’t even review this, it’s so bad…

It’s not that the actors were bad – although one of them used to be a porn star, so what do I know? – but the parts, the characters. I just didn’t care for it at all.

And I’m usually a fan of gory stuff! Honestly! I love it! Blood and guts, and all that jazz. Thing is, this is much more than that. It’s vile… It’s so close to human that you can’t detach yourself from what is happening, and I’m not sure I’ll even be able to not think about it ever again, it was so disturbing.

Anyway, my last words about it are: watch it at your own risk. I don’t recommend it at all. I’m actually uneasy heaving the DVD on my shelf (right next to Casablanca, which is a bit unfortunate)…

review by Mariana Duarte


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