The Cannibal Club, written and directed by Guto Parente, is a Brazilian horror film that premieres in North America this March (March 1st in theatres and March 5th on VOD) via Uncork’d Entertainment.
Since the movie hasn’t been released yet, this review will be 100% spoiler-free (as most of my articles are). The story of The Cannibal Club focuses on Gilda and Otavio, a rich couple with a complicated relationship that involves having sexual intercourses with their servants, killing and eating them. However, the two of them are part of the exclusive Cannibal Club, an organisation with a very clear mission: their permanence in the Cannibal Club, though, becomes uncertain as Gilda unveils some dark secrets…
Due to the opening scene and the tagline (“Nothing like a home cooked meal”), I expected The Cannibal Club to be a very cheesy and campy movie; to my surprise, the film is in actuality very dark and grim.
Continue reading and check my final grade…
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In fact, this Brazilian film is filled with gory and gruesome scenes that might make the viewer feel uncomfortable: I truly appreciated how The Cannibal Club doesn’t shy away from the most confronting content. The actors show huge commitment by appearing fully naked on screen, and the sex scenes (inextricably connected to violence and gore) feel more uneasy than exploitative.
The story itself and, more specifically, its development borrows quite a bit from the Hostel movies but still manages to appear fresh and unpredictable. This is mostly due to social commentary about the clash of the classes: something we’ve seen before in other films but that here gains value due to the importance of the issue in a country like Brazil.
As a big fan of cannibal-related movies, I was pleasantly surprised by the attention to location and cinematography in The Cannibal Club: usually this is a sub-genre that focuses on gore and uncomfortable content, all the while forgetting about the making of a competent picture. On the contrary, The Cannibal Club has a very distinctive and cohesive tone that benefits from some simple but effective cinematography. In fact, despite its (presumably) low budget, the movie is able to create a certain mood through the way it’s shot that makes it stand out.
Yet, the way the social commentary intertwines with a statement on relationships and jealousy is quite intriguing onto its own, because it makes The Cannibal Club work on a number of levels: it’s a very gruesome and unapologetic horror film, it’s got a message that you understand by reading between the lines, it develops the main two characters by delving into an unfulfilled relationship.
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I truly can’t wait for March to see what reactions this film will get because I honestly think most horror fans – especially those who aren’t too absorbed in mainstream filmmaking – will appreciate it.
That said, I’ve got a few issues with the movie, most of which revolve around technical aspects. First and foremost, I was constantly bothered by the music: the score, which is rarely fitting, is very distractive and loud, there’s little to no subtlety to it. Sometimes certain tracks play in the background and make it seems like you’re watching an early 90s, corny TV show.
Yet, although the film is overall very consistent in tone and vibe, the pacing can be off at times: after a violent and promising start, towards the middle it takes a dive only to pick up again during the very climactic and satisfying third act.
I, also, have a few minor complaints but, since they’d require me to talk spoilers, I will avoid them… yet, they’re really just nit-picky things, so most of the viewers probably won’t even notice them.
In conclusion, despite its shortcomings, The Cannibal Club is a solid cannibal movie that explores themes you wouldn’t expect in the sub-genre. It also benefits from strong performances and the right amount of gore and violence, which will make the viewing experience quite rewarding for fans of out-there, gruesome horror films.
The Cannibal Club 6.5/10
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