Cannibal Holocaust' is pretty disturbing. Not just the real life animal murder but the faked but very realistic cannibalism and rape. Although thanks to a friend who informed me that one of the most infamous scenes from that I guess they used an actual corpse to pull it off (no pun intended) so maybe I should use the word fake loosely. In other cases like the more recent 'A Serbian Film', where the film is indeed fake in its portrayals, it does not shy away from its blunt use of the worst things humans will do to each other for money and bizarre and extreme sexual gratification. I was lucky enough to see this film in a very rare on the big screen in 35mm cinemascope at the Horror Society Film Festival. While some people did walk out I stayed for the whole film.
Normally I try and do a lame attempt at doing a synopsis but this is direct from the website:
MILOS, a retired porn star, leads a normal family life with his wife Maria and six-year old son Petar in tumultuous Serbia, trying to make ends meet. Sudden call from his former colleague Layla will change everything. Aware of his financial problems, Layla introduces Milos to Vukmir- mysterious, menacing and politically powerful figure in pornographic business. A leading role in Vukmir’s new production will provide financial support to Milos and his family for the rest of their lives. A contract insists on his absolute unawareness of a script they will shoot. From then on, Milos is drawn into a maelstrom of unbeleivable cruelty and mayhem devised by his employer, “the director” of his destiny. Vukmir and his cohorts will stop at nothing to complete his vision. In order to escape the living cinematic hell he’s put into, and save his family’s life, Milos will have to sacrifice everything - his pride, his morality, his sanity, and maybe even his own life.
In a Serbian heart of darkness where life is cheaper than a candybar, in a struggle with enemies powerful beyond belief and just as violent and pathologically evil,
chances of surviving are abnormally thin.
This film is graphic in every sense. Some of you may have even heard about the infamous baby scene. It is true. And if you haven't then use your imagination and yes you are imagining it even if you are thinking it can't be that bad. This is one very sick film. However, it is also one very good film. There is a lot of talent at work here even if in many ways the film is unwatchable.
Milos is expertly portrayed by Srdjan Todorovic even though he is put in the most awful situations. The performances elevate the film beyond any cheap thrills film as well. There is nothing cheesy here. This film shows the worst parts of the real torture porn. Faceless and powerful people desire for these videos which to me is the most disturbing aspect to it. It's bad enough that these sick people are making these videos but that there are people with such a desire to see it they will pay a great deal for these people to make it.
While it doesn't shy away from the violence the film is particulary very well shot. I was so impressed by the cinematography by Nemanja Jovanov. This was shot on the RED camera and it looks beautiful. I know that sounds odd considering the some of the content but from a lighting perspective it is one great looking film.
Much has been said about the score which is too pretty amazing in its techno sort of in your face harshness which fits the film perfectly.
The graphic nature of the film will turn off probably 80% of you. And I will say at least 50% of you (if not more) should never see this film. I know that goes against my normal intuition but the graphic nature is something where I do think a lot of people just cannot look past it. In some cases I will make the argument that you need to look past certain elements to see what the film is really about. In a film like this it is hard to do. Which is why I would caution most of you before venturing into it.
This is also a film that is told very well and the violence in all of its extremeness is justified. It needs to show the evil that these people do. And the thing is, while it's dramatized for the sake of a fictionized film, these types of things do happen. At its worst mankind can be one sick being. And while in a dramatic sense the telling of such things in the spoken word can be powerful it does sometimes take the in your face approach to reach people. It's like making a movie about the Nazi's and not showing anything from the holocaust. Sometimes you do need to "go there". While some may question it and even question me in this I do feel that it is on some level justified. But it is one very disturbing and sick film. And I stand by the fact that I think most of you reading this should not watch this film. It is graphic to the extreme. It is violent to the extreme. It is sick to the extreme. It is also one of the year's best films.