Cannibal (2006 Video)
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The movie is well done, but it actually made me sick to my stomach, lol...just they way it is done, I guess...which is very well to have bothered me like that. I am not giving any spoilers, just be prepared if you watch this, this is NOT a date night movie, lol.
It has been a few years since I have seen this, but I know I will not go back and watch it...I actually broke the DVD after watching this because I did not want my kids or my husband to watch it...it disturbed me that much. Maybe it was just me, maybe it was my frame of mind at the time of watching this, who knows...
I would recommend this if you can stomach it, it is very well done.
No need to repeat the synopsis here because it's already well known. Even though this movie was shot on video, that makes it apropos for this kind of snuff-like film. The 'original' was captured on video anyway so this retelling doesn't stray too far off the mark.
Some parts of the movie were not visually clear; a lot of images seemed washed out and, like 'Melancholie der Engel', there really isn't that much dialog, either. However, I gave the movie a relatively high rating because of the boldness of the material, the direction, editing and bravery of the actors involved. This is probably what a video by Ed Gein or Jeffrey Dahmer would look like if they were filming their own exploits. You may not learn a lot about why they do what they do but their depravity will make your stomach turn.
Be warned. For fans of August Underground, the New French Extremity and Lucifer Valentine only.
Those who successfully make it past the film's scenes of man-lovin' will be confronted with some of the most disgustingly realistic and gut-churning scenes ever committed to film, including a penis severing guaranteed to leave men squirming in their seat, the nauseating sight of the almost-dead victim vomiting and emptying his bowels as he is carried to a barn for slaughter, the prolonged butchering of his corpse by his naked killer (including time out for a bit of entrail fondling and stump licking), and the final consumption of the meat.
While it's hardly what I would call an enjoyable experience (it certainly won't be getting a re-watch from me anytime soon), Cannibal is an effectively disturbing piece of no-holds-barred film-making that succeeds in reminding the viewer what a messed up world we live in. For being so balls-out (rather too literally at times), I reckon it's gotta be worth at least 7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.
anyways what really got me above all things was how realistic everything was and not just effective special effects. The film was cast perfectly. Carsten Frank was frighteningly believable as Armin, He had this incredibly dark way about him you could almost believe he was a real deviant. The actor as the victim he came off as a very slow and easily suggestible with the same sense of deviancy as the latter. The two really feed off each other...no pun intended.
All this cycles an incredibly troubling court ship complete with a scene of homosexuality that could only be topped by hard core gay porn, honestly having seen Dora's other work and seeing what they did in those i wouldn't be surprised if Carsten Frank and the other actor actually had sex. This all leads to some absolutely vicious series of gore scenes including castration, gutting and finally cannibalism. Personally the castration scene made me curl into a ball. Finally the actual death scene has to be the most disturbing part. The way the body was being carried, everything seemed to be in place, there was small puddles of chunky vomit, bowels were voided...all in detail. All in all this film once really taken in and processed is so much more than whats taken at face value. It felt to me almost like and mind you this is all based on actual events, i was watching some perverse tragedy, there was something not only grotesque, but dark, sad,and perverse. Couple that with the minimalist piano score, which is almost become Hallmark to extreme German cinema.
If you like horror films think twice about this film, however if you are a gore hound, or have a serious interest in true crime stories than go ahead. Be forewarned.
This is paced very slowly, at a purposeful rate and with extremely tight close-ups to the point of where it's hard to focus on what's going at moments. Communication wise, this goes for subtlety and tone rather than a reliance on dialogue. The music gives more mood towards sentiment than ominous overtures to come like in a typical horror movie going for suspense. This definitely has the potential to be shocking but the filmmakers leave that up to the viewer, as everything is shown point-blank, as is, no acceptance or dismissal of it: it was what it was. I found it downright uncomfortable, as it plays on odd and unfamiliar fetishes between two men that includes frequent kissing, fondling, tender touches and insertion. Not to mention it treats the material extremely personal without a hint of cutting away. There's no break here, except if you count dining on some privy body parts, lounging around completely nude with unsightly appendages dangling this way or that, or soaking up the sun while feeding a garden with left over human remains.
This won't make tops of lists of items to watch again, nor is it a film to invite others over to see with you. That is unless you've got time on your hands with some explaining to do, or you're playing a daring game of who can keep their eyes on the screen longest without covering up or looking away. It's hard to call this a "good" film. Though in the basic and unconventional framework that it delivers in it's an effective one. I haven't had to take a break when watching a picture since seeing "Salo"; this is even over no story exploitation pictures like "The Devil's Experiment" and "Aftermath" where I've killed a party and had other people leave the room, never to let me put on another film again. I can't say I agree with anything I seen here but the filmmakers were able to display a certain event without even having to inject little horror-like scares, but by just showing the audience what happened behind those walls that you'll wish never came down. If you didn't take the hint: get out now. This isn't scary, as you'll probably win the lottery and get struck by lightning in the same day before it happens to you. Except for maybe giving hope to those strange folks who's irregular interests stunt dating, the regular viewer won't be put in their shoes and there are no real relating points that are emphasized here, such as with the movie "Grimm Love" about the same subject and the whole sentimental approach and look into their background.
In the end there isn't a big purpose as it leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination, guy soiling himself as he's missing his member and then leaking out the other end as he's dying and all. They squeezed in some tie-ins to "The Brothers Grimm" for some ambiguous meaning that seems a lost cause, though it doesn't appear like there is anything to ponder about here, except maybe why they would do this with each other and have the other one so willing to be a participant, or even how two guys like this lived so close? Is it just a modern thing, is the Internet the accelerator? There aren't going to be any heroes or villains, story arcs, layered surprises, just a non-stop candid look up to, during and briefly after these mens' interaction. Nothing fundamentally more, nothing sincerely less. (See my profile and click chronological for the first review "Grimm Love" or the third review of "Downloading Nancy.") (Also submitted on http://fromblacktoredfilmreviews.blogspot.com/)
Anyway, when the talking started, I was shocked to hear how feminine Armin's voice was, but that soon came to pass. Something I found quite interesting about the second act was how it depicted The Flesh as the one in control, as opposed to Armin. The eerie role reversal of power worked on many psychological levels, and actually gave off a more disturbing air than the infamous gore did, especially when Armin was gutting his carcass. To think that the slab of ribs that Armin toys with was once the dominate one in their brief relationship really gave me something to think about.
Now, you're probably wondering how I felt about the gore. Well, I found the effects to be top notch, and was quite surprised to find that absolutely nothing was left to the imagination. However, the weirdest thing is: none of the bloodshed I saw really got under my skin. Not even the castration(which I blame on the fact that I've seen the rare mondo flick, The Last Savage, which has a penile castration that would give the Pain Olympics a run for its money). Also, I thought that the emphasis on gore made the third act drag quite a bit. Do we really need to spend 20 minutes on seeing a guy's carcass get cut up? This part felt less like a gripping gore film, and more like a how-to video on how to gut corpses. But like I said, some of it does actually add a layer of uneasiness when put in context with the film's prior events. Still, they should've spent a little less time on this.
All in all, this is a hard film to rate, as it's less like a film, and more like an experience. Do I recommend it? Only to those with strong stomachs, and/or those curious about the Armin Meiwes case. It's a well-made film, and is rewarding in its own special way, but I can see 95% of viewers turning this off the moment The Flesh's penis starts to bleed.
---contains heavy spoilers----
"Cannibal" is not your typical horror film and I am glad of it. Over the years I have been watching all this garbage come out with cookie cutting teenie boppers and have gotten sick of it. So I pulled up and looked on the net to find movies that would appeal to me. I like gore and I like straight horror. And I have found it.
This movie as stated in other reviews plays out in 3 distinct acts; searching for "the flesh", meeting and the relationship with "the flesh", and finally the killing and consumption of "the flesh".
Acts 1 and 2 may seem boring to some, but it is a great build up to the actual gorefest part of the film. And as stated before, there is a lot of male nudity and gay love in this film. In fact, the whole killing and consumption the main actor is nude.
For y'all that may not be able to stomach it, act 3 is the gore. And my friends, there ain;t a film out there more gory than this one. That is a promise. The consumption starts out with the severing of THE FLESH'S penis. This looks real and there ain't no cutaways. In fact, after he fries up the penis and he and his lover share it, that is the one part I had to pass through because of the noises of the eating. After that he takes the flesh into the bathtub to bleed out and die so he can butcher him into steaks. This scene is great and creepy. After that he takes the dying body down to cut up and there is a nice watery crap scene that should make you sick. There is some barfing, the body is then hung and gutted in great detail.
----end of spoilers----
Anyway, this is a film that not everyone will like and I would not say that watching it with family members would be good either. This is something to watch by yourself so you can absorb what is happening. The score is great, the acting is great, and the gore is above and beyond anything I have ever see. So buy it, put it in the DVD and sit back and try to watch it straight through. And keep telling yourself it is only a movie.
In short, some comments on the above.
1. The effects are so good, that you actually forget they are effects. They're THAT graphic. And I appreciate good graphics when it comes to gore (then again, I just loooove gore).
2. This movie does not try to hit all the major screens. It knows what it is and thereby knows that it will not be embraced by a large audience, but it is filmed beautifully in it's way and it gets the message across. And this message is a disturbing one. I will not go into any details, but I can say this: if you are interested in how a person that want to actually kill and eat another human being thinks, watch this. You will not be disappointed. The human psyche is well spotlighted, as is the gore.
3. It happened for real.
4. After watching this movie, I had no thoughts for quite some time. On the one hand I was enjoying all the gore I had witnessed, but at the same time I felt a bitter emptiness for the cannibal. His loneliness is portrayed so good, it almost hurts.
Gruesome, true. But bizarrely beautiful.
The start did not get that much attention from me, but as the movie progressed, I found myself in a maelstrom of emotions-- disgust, sadness and pity.
The movie's brilliant cinematography was something worth praising. It definitely captured the film with that sort of dramatic angling. The lighting and art direction was also astounding.
The scenes where The Flesh begins to die was somewhat gruesome. It almost had me puking, but anyhow, as an art form, it was brilliant. That gore was captured so dramatically. The scene where the man gave his final goodbye to The Flesh had me cry a little.
All in all the movie is not for the faint at heart. As an art form, it has exceeded the genre of abstract.
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Based on the true story of Armin "Rotenburg Cannibal" Meiwes, the German man who posted a wanted message on the internet looking for someone who was willing to be killed and eaten. Directed Marian Dora has created one of the most vile, repulsive and disgusting films I've ever seen. Having seen all the Italian cannibal films I thought I could handle anything but that wasn't the case with this film. Just how bad was it? I actually had to stop the film and throw up once. Reluctantly I went back and watched the film and just grew sicker and sicker. The film leaves nothing to the imagination and shows us everything. The director has only around ten lines of dialogue and everything else is just built up with atmosphere and mood. This atmosphere is of pure nastiness and this comes through in the final third of the film where the killing and eating actually starts. Apparently this film follows the real events very closely and lets just say it starts with a penis being cut off, fried and then eaten. This is where I lost it but the film keeps going. It's hard to rate this film because it's technically well made but I really can't recommend it to anyone due to the subject matter and brutality.
Everything done in this movie is done for a reason, it all contributes to our understanding of the characters and makes the horror that follows far more shocking then it would have otherwise been. To go into some detail, the first twenty minutes or so in the movie are virtually dialog free. There is a short part at the beginning where a story is told but aside from that the viewer is left to rely on sights and sounds to explain whats happening. The beginning is setup to show us the killers quest for the man who will be his victim. What follows once the dialog starts is meant to expand on the characters we've met and it does so fantastically. Showing us how they feel and think, what their desires are and how desperate they are to fulfill them.
The sex scenes, like the rest of the film are unflinching. Shown in more detail then I would have ever expected to see in a film, but those scenes like everything else are there for a reason. They show the killer and the victims ultimate uncontrollable desire to be "one". They expand on the characters and show the almost primal desires that lie within them. Anyone who continues to watch the movie following these scenes can see how essential they were, how much they added to characters and to the effect the movie has on it's viewer.
The film runs about an hour and a half. Roughly fifty minutes or so into the movie it becomes truly horrific, taking us even deeper into the mind of a madman and his quest to satisfy his hunger. The gore at this point in the film will truly make you squirm. I've been watching horror movies since I was ten years old, I have never truly felt taken aback by what I've seen. I have never felt that I could label a film as truly brutal, realistic, honest and straight forward. Until now. I've seen Cannibal Holocaust and it's sequels, Cannibal Ferox and countless other cannibal films. More horror movies then I can remember, all of the Faces Of Death series, countless examples or real autopsies and many things I wouldn't care to mention. This movie is truly the best cannibal film I've ever seen and I can't imagine anything ever comparing to it.
I think calling it a cannibal movie is perhaps a little unfair, the term almost simplifies the film when there is so much more to it and it is so incredibly well done. The entire movie has a dark and foreboding feel, the camera work and music add to a great story which, as others have said, if it wasn't true no one would believe it. I am a fan of all types of horror from North America, Japan, Europe and just about everywhere else. I never judge one type of cinema against another. I'm not the type to say "if Hollywood could make a movie like this, it would truly revive North American horror". However I'm going to say exactly that. Perhaps the closest thing we have to this type of film making in North America right now is Rob Zombie, but even he doesn't push the limits like this. I have to wonder if he would, if he thought he could actually get it released in US and Candadian theaters.
If your a mature horror fan this is a must see and you will not regret it. If it isn't already clear though, keep the kids (or your parents as the case may be) out of the room for this one.
But what the film lacks in storytelling flair, it more than makes up for in its depiction of the key events, which are ghastly in the extreme and quite explicit. The attention to gore and detail is stomach-turningly impressive. It should be added that the performance of how these two men actually went about killing and being killed has the desperate, awkward stamp of authenticity to it; the actors achieve a haunting, passionate fervor. Also, the sexual nature of their relationship is captured in a way that the news reports could not approach. A good deal of screen time in the second half of the film is given to the complex texture of their very physical relationship, sexual and otherwise. It seems perverse and insane, yet resonates as true somehow. While there is no exploration as to the nature of either men's internal cues, the film displays the horrifying aftermath in detail. There is real curiosity given to the ambivalence that the protagonist has about flesh, organs and blood.
What I found most impressive about "Cannibal" was perhaps unintended - it looked simply awful, in every way. Had a more accomplished crew made this film, it may have achieved glossy or professional sheen (like Hostel, for example) and reduced Messrs Miewes and Brandes' appalling ordeal into commercial horror. As it is, the aesthetic result translates into art quite well. i.e., It is difficult/contradictory/message-less - easier than a commercial film to read as metaphor, as well as its effective display of pathological attachment/need since there is no "character-arc" grafted on to it. It also shuns overt commercial appeal while remaining compelling. Thankfully, it also seems impossible to imagine a sequel.
If watching "Cannibal" initially feels awkward and uncomfortable, don't immediately think you purchased the wrong movie. It has to be said, the first 40 minutes of the film are ... um ... due to the lack of a more fitting term: extremely GAY! The two protagonists constantly walk around naked, fondle each other and Morian Dora eventually even includes rough footage of homosexual intercourse. Admittedly this is all quite uncomfortable to watch, but it does help a great deal to make the two characters more convincing and at least it provides them with a more likable background, rather then to simply portray them as maniacs. Also very impressive and unforgettable during these first 40 minutes are the uncannily grim photography and especially the chilling musical score. Dora compares the case of the Rohtenburg cannibal with the legendary fairy-tale of Hansel & Gretl, which results in a truly atmospheric into sequence and a handful of brilliant hidden gimmicks, like the sounds of opening doors resembling Hansel cage in the Brothers Grimm's story. Then, when the actual horror starts, "Cannibal" turns into the most stomach-churning movie I ever beheld, and that honestly isn't an exaggeration. The make-up effects are incredibly realistic and deeply disturbing. The already-notorious castration sequence is nearly unwatchable and the dissection of the victim's body near the end of the film goes on uninterrupted for eighteen whole minutes (make sure you purchase the uncut version!) and it's by far the most shocking thing ever captured on film. If you think movies like "Hostel", "Saw" or that ridiculous "Murder-Set-Pieces" were cruel, "Cannibal" will damage your stomach beyond repair. The acting performances of Carsten Frank and Victor Brandl are excellent, but the English dubbing is a total disaster. Luckily enough, there only are about 15 lines being spoken throughout the entire movie, and they're rather primitive and simply phrases like "I'm your Flesh" or "You're too weak to do it". All I can say is that this is a extraordinary and unforgettable experience to behold. Very few people will be able to sit the whole film through, but it's an absolute must-see for avid collectors of extreme cinema and warmly recommended to everyone who's sick and tired of goody-goody mainstream horror films.
When you are familiar with the story you will get a lot more out of this film, the main reason for this being the limited dialogue. If you know what is supposed to be happening then you'll be able to follow the story easily.
There are only two main characters in this film, the cannibal and the 'Flesh'. The story picks up pace when the Flesh is introduced to the story. From here we witness the build up to the inevitable conclusion. Let me just warn you that there is a lot of male nudity and several scenes of a sexual nature. Whereas this is not a problem for myself or many other viewers, there are numerous posts on these boards that complain, so there you go, you have been warned.
You will soon witness the journey that this odd couple take, the torment the cannibal goes through when he briefly questions if he will be able to go through with things. The Flesh stating that it is his deepest desire.
There are some shots that will have you squirming in your seat. The last half hour or so will please fans of exploit/extreme/gore and may be a little bit hard core for the average cinema fan. This is no Saw movie, these things really did happen! Get yourselves a copy of this movie, turn down the lights, kick back and enjoy the ride!
It's almost like a snuff movie, so get it seen before it's banned. You will be shocked and may not even think you can watch the whole movie, just watch it, it's all theatrical but extremely extreme.
As I said, the previous review sums it all up perfectly, and I have just been warned not to pad out my comment. As a result of this warning, I am trying to think of bettering the previous review. It is hard because, as I said the original review is perfect.
I was close to turning off this movie, due to squeamish reflexes of the natural kind, but continued to watch it with unabated breath.
If you like horror movies with lots of American kids, and a bad guy that gets killed at the end then this film is NOT for you.
If you want to see a harrowing account of 2 lost souls, one who had nothing to live for, other than being literally eaten by someone who loved him to death: By a person who had a life so mundane, that all he wanted to do was eat someone who wanted to be eaten by one who loved him so much to be physically devoured in the literal sense.... then watch this movie.