Cannibal Holocaust: THE Video Nasty

Cannibal Holocaust is an Italian cannibal horror film directed by Ruggero Deodato. The plot recounters the final days of a group of budding documentarians as they head to the Amazon jungle to try and make contact with the tribes.

So, yes before we get into it, I just want to say that don’t want this if you are easily offended. There is real animal death in this film, and very vicious rape scenes which are both very off putting. I myself had to look away during some of these scenes as I thought that it was just needlessly vulgar. I think an argument can be made that these scenes were only put in the film to add a shock factor that would lead to its infamy, making it more of a must see for a certain type of people.

That aside, I enjoyed parts of this film. I enjoyed how the film subverted our expectation in having the missing teens be the real villains of the piece rather than have it be the savage evil tribe trope again. I thought it was a nice comment on the fact that just because someone is classed as ‘civilised’ it doesn’t mean they are. I read the whole thing as a commentary on colonialization.

I enjoyed the sense of tension especially in the later stages of the film, when it feels like the whole of this world has become hostile and there is this looming sense of death that just doesn’t go away. The frights are physiological as you see the level of human depravity just below the surface.

Overall, not an easy watch, but one that is worth your time as a comment on the past and human nature.

Pros.

Not using the evil tribe trope

A strong sense of tension

Interesting themes and comments on society

Cons.

It is not an easy watch

A lot of the more vulgar elements feel done for little more than shock value

3/5

Reviewed by Luke