Well, here you have it ... The most grueling, sickening, disturbing, controversial, unbelievable and shocking horror movie EVER made, and yet it's all real. "Cannibal" is the ideal motion picture to state that the hard facts of reality will always surpass fiction. If this film had simply sprung from the imaginative mind of any random horror scriptwriter, it probably would have been laughed at, because surely nothing as vile, grotesque and far-fetched like this is ever likely to happen in our sophisticated society, right? The factual case of Rohtenburg cannibal Armin Meiwes is unquestionably one of the most perplexing crime cases in the history of mankind and, even though you know it's all true, you're often still staring at the screen in total disbelief. Even though the case is only a couple of years old, it already inspired no less than FOUR long feature films. Marian Dora's version is the first one I watched, but I sincerely doubt that any of the other three will defeat "Cannibal" when it comes to truthfulness, shocking impact or the explicit depiction of mutilation & manslaughter. This film is indescribably hardcore, with a continuously gritty & devastating atmosphere as well as graphic imagery that will undoubtedly disgust even the toughest and most experienced horror fanatic. Strange and surreal as it may sound, "Cannibal" primarily is an unconventional love-story and a portrait of two men who're social outcasts due to their unacceptable sexual desires. They're not crazed psychopaths or heroine-addicted losers, but introvert gay men with sexual needs only the two of them comprehend. The film soberly opens with Meiwes persona (though nameless in the film, as well as his victim Bernd Brandes) carefully looking for male company but always returning home alone again. He then finally meets his 'soul mate' via the internet and they promptly begin a fairly passionate relationship. Then soon follows the actual reason why the two met each other, namely the killing and 'consumption' of The Flesh. The victim is castrated at his own request and they both eat the penis before he's killed and eviscerated in extended and horrifying details.
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.
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