THE CANNIBAL CLUB (2018)
Written and Directed by Guto Parente
Portuguese Language with English Subtitles
A husband and wife living in a guarded villa in Brazil seem like your average elite couple except they have a penchant for eating their employees. It seems they’re not the only ones with husband Otavio belonging to a Cannibal Club made up of other upper class members of local society including Otavio’s boss, Borges. When Otavio’s wife Gilda accidentally catches Borges in an act that would ruin his career and marriage, Otavio fears that their lives may be taken next.
Straight from Brazil, THE CANNIBAL CLUB is a slice of horror eye-candy that has enough black comedy within its depraved horror to make you nervously laugh as you squirm in your seat. The film is a visual treat right from the very start, with the camera soaking up the sun-kissed pool as Gilda inspects the pool boy as she lounges on the sunbed. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the two are shagging, or at least will be if they aren’t already. What I didn’t prepare for was for their throes of passion to be rudely interrupted as it is in a scene that made me yelp out and gaze open-mouthed in absolute shock. To put it lightly, THE CANNIBAL CLUB isn’t for the weak minded and regularly depicts acts of intense intercourse as well as violent murder, often culminating in the victim(s) being consumed afterwards. The victims are usually nobodies; poor people who don’t really have anyone who’ll miss them.
The crux of the story is the spanner in the works caused by a boozed up Gilda seeing things she shouldn’t. Otavio knows that Borges won’t stand anybody getting in his way, even dispatching a well-loved and respected associate of his, and thus Otavio’s mind starts working overtime, panicking that the couple are next on his hitlist. With Borges holding such power, being one of the elite and essentially like a mafia boss, it’s easy to see the lengths he may go to to silence Gilda, but at the same time Otavio’s paranoia could be getting to him. Despite these worries, they need to fill their bellies and so hire a new pool boy in the form of Jonas, going through similar motions with him as the hired help at the beginning of the film. It begs the question of how many times have they done this. Their taste for flesh seems to be the only thing that binds them together as more often than not the two argue, with Gilda particularly peeved that she’s unable to join in the men’s only Cannibal Club which Octavio attends.
Brutal and shocking, THE CANNIBAL CLUB will keep you glued to the screen in some kind of warped fascination. However, whether it quite works as a feature length film, I’m not to sure. When all the horrific elements are stripped away, THE CANNIBAL CLUB is quite a simple tale that feels more like a short film than it does a feature film and doesn’t seem to have enough meat on the bone to satisfy the running time, leaving something lacking despite it finishing quite neatly. With humour as dark as a black hole and an intense soundtrack to boot, the film is a pleasure to watch and effortlessly tells its story as the viewer can only look on in horror. The scariest part? That a couple like this could actually exist.
If a film could turn you vegetarian, this could be it.