Cannibal (UK DVD)
Directed by Benjamin Vire
Distributed by Matchbox Films
Behind every surprise hit or exciting new movement in cinema will follow a line of desperate pretenders hoping to get a piece of the pie. Allow me to introduce you to Benjamin Vire’s Cannibal, hoping to join the French new wave of splatter that has emerged over recent years – I fondly remind you of such powerhouse miracles of horror such as Inside and Martyrs to name but two. Will Cannibal join these ranks? No such luck.
Max (Gob) is an agoraphobic who lives alone in the woods, killing time by hitting a golf ball around, seemingly happy and at peace. He discovers a young woman (and what do ya know, she's beautiful) lying unconscious in the woods. Any other civilised person would call for help and not think another second about it. Not Max. He picks her up and carries her back to his cabin, despite how nervous the idea of living with another human being makes him. What unfolds between the two is a pseudo romantic relationship – Max, perhaps realising this is the happiness that has eluded him all along, grows attached to the woman. Things take a turn for the worse when she escapes – Max discovers her in a car, cannibalising the man inside and having sex with him. Again, Max's reaction is almost as shocking as the relationship starts to change, the two more like pet and master than lovers.
Perhaps one of the hardest films I've had the displeasure of sitting through in a while and not due to the on-screen violence, Cannibal is amateurish to the point of almost being incomprehensible. Sure, the scenes of gore that do pop up (and they are rare, gorehounds; trust me) reek of a high school film project, but it’s not the budget that’s at fault here – it's basic storytelling. As you may come to expect from a straight to DVD release, the performances are on the whole pretty sub-standard, but what deals the death blow to this is the fact that nearly every frame is an extreme closeup, completely detaching you from an uninspired scenario which we have seen done much better with Lucky McKee's The Woman or even Dario Argento's "Masters of Horror" entry, Jenifer.
Further distracting is the half-baked gangster subplot – if you're expecting this to offer some much needed respite from the piss poor main plot, guess again. Even as the two worlds collide at the film's climax, you won’t really care at all. In fact, if you manage to reach the final stretch of the film, then pat yourself on the back – congratulations, there go 90 minutes of your life you'll never get back. An amateurish jumble of a mess in every way – do yourself a favour and catch The Woman instead – but whatever you do, put this turd back in the bowl.
One thing I always look for on independent horror releases is a decent special feature or two, since more often than not the story of how it got to the screen proves much more entertaining than the film itself. No dice here. A vanilla selection of extras offers no consolation prize for those unlucky enough to stumble upon this big mistake. To top it all off, in terms of presentation there has been no effort applied to sound quality, lending a flat, lifeless tone to a flat, lifeless movie.
1 out of 5
1/2 out of 5