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A photographer on assignment in the rain forest is ambushed and held slave by a primitive tribe, until the chief's daughter chooses him as her groom. After being initiated by various tortures, he becomes a part of the tribe and helps them against modern dangers and a cannibal tribe they're at war with. Written by
Pretty forgettable debut for the cannibal subgenre
Ruggero Deodato is often credited for inventing the cannibal subgenre with JUNGLE HOLOCAUST in 1975. But director Umberto Lenzi, usually acknowledged as a Deodato rip-off, directed THE MAN FROM DEEP RIVER 3 years earlier in 1972. Is it a worthy start for the genre? Well....not really.....
A photographer accidentally kills a man in self-defense and while retreating into the jungles of an Asian country, is captured by a native tribe who hold him captive, force him into slave labor, and eventually accept him when he marries the chief's daughter. Throughout the whole film, I never felt this was a horror film. It was more reminiscent of a drama, like A MAN CALLED HORSE, which I liked better. Ivan Rassimov is pretty good as the photographer, but it is Me Me Lai as the chief's daughter who is memorable and great. I have always been a Me Me Lai fan ever since her breathtaking performance in JUNGLE HOLOCAUST and she is never given credit for her acting chops because she hardly speaks in her films. She is still very talented and charming. Lots of real animal mutilation is the one thing about DEEP RIVER that could make it a horror film, but even that doesn't execute well.
THE MAN FROM DEEP RIVER is good to see for those who want to see what started the cannibal subgenre, but as an entry in the genre, is easily eclipsed by Deodato's entries and even Lenzi's own later entries. Recommended only for completists and Me Me Lai fans.
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