Monday, October 2, 2017

Film Review: Cannibal Ferox (1981)

Cannibal Ferox (Review)
Italy/1981
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"It's not suspenseful, it's not tense, but it is graphic."

Three friends enter the Amazonian jungles hoping to disprove cannibalism, but they soon find themselves targeted by a vengeful tribe of cannibals...

Cannibal Ferox follows three Americans: siblings Rudy and Gloria, and Pat. This group heads into the Amazonian jungles in order to prove Gloria's theory that cannibalism does not exist. While searching for their location, they bump into pair of Americans: Mike and Joe. Mike claims to have been attacked by a group of cannibals, but that's not completely true. When the truth does eventually come out, it's too late. The group is captured and tortured by a vengeful tribe. There's a little more to the plot, including a subplot following an investigation in the United States, but it's not really significant. It leads to an interesting but underwhelming ending.

Cannibal Ferox feels like a lazy clone of Cannibal Holocaust. The plot is occasionally interesting, but, most of the time, it's generic and derivative. It asks the same old questions and gives the same old answers. It doesn't really do anything unique. I suppose it does top Cannibal Holocaust on one aspect: the animal cruelty. If you thought it was bad in Cannibal Holocaust, you'll probably want to cover your eyes and plug your ears during this one because it is cruel. And, no, I don't think that's a good thing.

Cannibal Ferox isn't the worst film I've ever seen. Aside from its animal cruelty, I don't really think it's a bad film. I just don't think it was necessary because the plot and direction are so derivative. Let's be honest here: this is most likely the type of film you're going to watch because of its violence—and that's okay. I get it. I've been pushing my boundaries since I was in high school. So, I can say: this film is extreme. Thanks to the great special effects, it will make you squirm and flinch. It might even truly disturb a more 'mainstream' horror fan. So, it does accomplish that.

The acting might make you squirm, too. The cast is stiff and boring. The unnatural dialogue doesn't help, either. The music was decent, but it doesn't match the soundtrack of Cannibal Holocaust. The cinematography was decent, though. The practical special effects were great, too. The film was copied written and directed by Umberto Lenzi. Lenzi's writing isn't the greatest, but his direction is strong. He clearly had a vision for this film and he delivered it without compromise. I applaud him for that.

Overall, Cannibal Ferox is a decent film. It's cruel, violent, and horrific. It's not suspenseful, it's not tense, but it is graphic. If you're looking for a disturbing movie, this is for you. However, if you've already seen Cannibal Holocaust, which is superior in nearly every way, you can skip this one.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, nudity.

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