There are certain things to expect when watching a cannibal movie. Gore, violence, and obviously flesh eating are all bound to occur. The plot tends to be thin, and the deepest you will get is a message that amounts to man being the most dangerous predator. Brazil’s The Cannibal Club is a slightly different cannibal movie. It touches on many different themes but never focuses on one which which ultimately hinders its overall message.
It is not odd for horror movies to tie together sex and violence. (From media to video games, there is not a medium that has not tried to link the two.) in The Cannibal Club, The two are tied intricately. Unlike the slashers of the 1980s, sex is not an end to the mean. Instead, the movie seems to be saying that the two primal acts are intertwined. It is an interesting idea, but it is never really explored. It is just as likely that someone is being taken advantage of in a moment of physical weakness.
The cannibalistic nature of business is better fleshed out, however. The Cannibal Club takes place in the upper crust of Brazilian society. It is a world in which every person is out for themselves and no one can be trusted. Contrasting the idea of the strong eating the weak to a club where the rich literally eat the floor this is a great comparison.
This idea is even further fleshed out during a meeting of the titular club. The men speak highly of their hard work and strong ethics while looking down on the lower classes. The moment may be the scariest part of the film. It is an interesting theme that is constantly revisited, but it never gets past being more than that.
Cannibal Club is darkly funny. The premise itself is ridiculous while the themes of the classes literally eating each other will illicit some giggles. The performances from Tavinho Teixeira and Ana Luiza Rios also make sure the movie never turns to parody. It is hard to convincingly mix horror and comedy, but The Cannibal Club is able to do so. While the movie’s pacing is can be stilted, the jokes are consistently well delivered.
Writer and director Guto Parente does a good job of trying to humanize Otavio and Gilda. The two are constantly seen in situations that make you forget about their monstrous diet. They trade barbs, manipulate each other, but through it all, obviously love each other. It is an interesting addition to this type of horror movie, but the moments also seem out of place.
A movie called The Cannibal Club is guaranteed to be a violent affair – unless it is this one. The film deals with cannibalism, so it definitely is not for the squeamish. That being said, there are very few moments of outright gore. Instead, director first last leaves the most disgusting moments up to the audience’s imagination. There are sounds of violence and platters of very rare meat served, but little in the way of blood and guts. This does not affect the quality of the movie either way, but it is good to know.
The Cannibal Club is an interesting movie of the genre. The film has the obligatory nudity, hardly any gore, and a great theme. The idea of cannibals also figuratively feasting on those that are in a lower social class is a great one. The film is also funny. Regrettably, it never ties together all of its ideas, leaving the audience with a sample instead of a satisfying meal.
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