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October 26, 2015

Movie Review: In the Land of Cannibals (2004)

Again, I have been absent too long from the CHC universe. I have a sizable stack of nothing but gems, I’m sure, to work my way through just for you people. You shall miss my snark no more!

My return is heralded by a juicy little morsel about cannibals in the jungle. Now, I’ve never seen Cannibal Holocaust so I can’t do a compare/contrast. I know...I’m disappointed in me, too.

In the Land of Cannibals begins with a troupe of commandos flying into the jungles of Brazil (via the Philippines) on a search and rescue mission. Some random General’s daughter went missing on some vague trip to the area earlier. So our merry band of Army brats is here to save the day. I guess. They seem rather inept to me.

With the help of a local guide (Romero) and his native scout (Isaiah), the group sets out to find Sarah Armstrong and anyone else from the original group that might still be alive. They have to worry about the People of the Lake, though, an indigenous tribe of cannibals. No on has ever seen them, of course, or if they have they didn’t live to tell the tale (so who exactly tells the tales about them?).

Luckily they have a prisoner from another local tribe - not cannibals but they DO eat people as part of some ritual (doesn’t that make them cannibals?). They use him to find his village where they might learn about the People of the Lake. But not before stumbling across a guy performing a ritual on his unfaithful wife (read: mutilating her genitalia, gutting her, then eating her uterus). I think I blacked out a little after that bit.


After saving the local tribe from being killed and eaten by the People of the Lake (I assume), they throw a big party for the military squad and lo and behold, who do you think the half naked drugged out blonde whom they believe is a goddess incarnate as she stumbles around the fire could be? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.

Now that they’ve found Sarah, the remaining soldiers (oops, spoiler alert) need to get her to the rahndayvooze point ASAP. Can our band of bad asses get home safe and not end up on the menu?

Wow. Just wow. So much awful here I don’t know where to begin.

No pictures, please. I can't let anyone know I was in this pile of tripe.

Well, let’s start with audio. The film is Italian, shot in the Philippines, so it’s dubbed into English. I really abhor the whole dubbed idea but I understand why it’s done. Usually in low budget fare, the acting quality of the voice overs is seriously lacking. And this was no exception. It was also difficult to process listening to Filipino extras speak with Italian accents when they’re supposed to be from Brazil.

The special effect noises of weaponry was much too loud. Not only were my ears bleeding but my poor dog was hiding in the bathtub.

The dialogue was cheesy at best. Cliche at its worst. The characters are stereotypes of military enlistees: smart ass, hard ass, dumb ass...Even the Irishman turns into a raging racist when he can’t find a light for his smokes. All he was missing was a hidden flask filled with Mother’s Milk.

Probably the most awful was the writers basically stealing lines/set ups from the movie, Aliens, right down to Hudson’s line about taking an express elevator to Hell. And almost the entire conversation about Gorman’s combat experience training was stolen verbatim. Even the chick commando is named Vasquez.


Some of the discovered corpses - or cannibalistic scraps, if you will - look pretty cool. Until anyone touches them or drop them to the ground. Then they look like painted styrofoam. The bits being eaten by the cannibals were much more realistic. I don’t think I wanna know how they achieved that. Nope. Really don’t.

Dude, we know you're addicted to cheap whores and BJs but can't you wait until we're done filming? Dude? Dammit. 

I think the filmmakers were trying to get that exploitation feel by spreading the corpse discoveries or organ chowing or that fucking unfaithful wife ritual throughout the film to achieve it. But I think they failed. It felt more like they just wanted to make sure the audience didn’t leave from absolute boredom because those gods damned commandos were in the shit sucking jungle for fucking EVER.

And how the hell does Vasquez not blow them ALL to fucking kingdom come when she decides to sacrifice her injured self by pulling the pins on what are obviously fragment grenades and lay in wait for the cannibals? She never holds the striker levers down - on either one - but they do blow up when she smashes them together. This movie could have ended about 15 minutes earlier if the writers did any research on military weaponry.

But the absolute largest missed pilfer...I mean dialogue opportunity, has to be the writers NOT borrowing an iconic Schwarzenegger line when Romero orders Sarah to run to the pick up point: “GET TO DA CHOPPAH!”

So disappoint. On multiple levels. Aside from one awesomely terrible death scene, I say skip this one.

.5 Hatchet (out of 5)

(this is the only trailer I could find - it's in Japanese but utter shit is universally understood)

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