Cannibal | Film Review

cannibal-black-lavaCannibal is a German extreme horror film written, produced and directed by Marian Dora (Melancholie der Engel, Carcinoma) in 2006. The film's story is based on the case of Armin Meiwes, known as the Rotenburg cannibal, who fed on Bernd Jürgen Brandes in 2001. The latter, applying as a willing victim, had responded to Meiwes' Internet ad in which the latter specifically sought a young man willing to be killed and cannibalized.

The film faithfully depicts the heinous affair in which Armin Meiwes and his victim are involved, leaving no room for imagination. The first sequence serves as a brief introduction to the character in his childhood phase: in fact, the first minutes of the film show us Armin Meiwes as a child, intent on listening to the fairy tale of "Hansel and Gretel" (towards which the cannibal from Rotenburg nurtured a real obsession), read, presumably by his mother. A small detail, this, which highlights his interest in "meat" developed already at an early age and consolidated later in adulthood. In this regard, the anatomy books or those on Jeffrey Dahmer (U.S. serial killer known as the "Milwaukee cannibal") shown, not only testify to an interest predating the murder but also consolidate that sick desire of the protagonist that would later drive him to seek out conseptive subjects on the Internet.

cannibal6The sexually motivated cannibalistic episode that marked the life of Armin Meiwes (currently a lifer) is shocking precisely because it is real. In Cannibal, Marian Dora recreates this horror by managing to turn a film into a kind of mirror that mercilessly reflects the preparation and conduct of the execution, staying true to reality: administration of alcohol and sleeping pills to the victim, emasculation and consummation of the penis, exsanguination in a bathtub, and throat-cutting... All these steps follow one another in precise time frames as the protagonist (played by Carsten Frank) takes full command of his instincts, until the complete transformation into a cannibal.

cannibal4His initial inexperience in carrying out his twisted fantasies is felt by the insecurity that prevents him from going through with his first attempt. Between the two adults, however, there is no lack of an insane courtship phase that results in a sick love, that of the victim for her executioner and vice versa, and that will find its culmination in the cannibalistic act. Armin Meiwes plays, loves and desires that stranger (Victor Brandl) who is introduced to him with a "I am your flesh. Don't make me suffer," and eventually becomes one with it, fulfilling the desires of both.

cannibal5What is striking about Marian Dora's film is the rawness in realistically showing not only the act of cannibalism itself but also everything that precedes and happens to it, not neglecting the characterization of the characters. Cannibal also enjoys, among other things, excellent special effects that crown the thornier sequences, such as those of emasculation, throat-cutting, and the loss of bodily fluids after fainting...
The film conveys a deep sense of unease through powerful images that are both evocative and funereal, capturing the most atrocious moments. Amplifying it all is a constant, asphyxiating leaden atmosphere that heavily thickens the sense of death.
Prestigious cinematography that in some sequences, such as the bathtub sequence, reaches heights of quality foreign to much of extreme cinematography.

This exemplary German extreme horror film, so laden with pain and suffering, has the extraordinary power to engage the viewer, playing it to the point of darkening the viewer's soul. Deeply rotten and dark, Cannibal by Marian Dora is an unforgettable glimpse into the intimacy and bloodthirsty desires of two insane individuals--who really existed.


Cannibal was recently released in an uncut version by Black Lava Entertainment in an unmissable DVD edition. The mediabook edition with 2 DVDs is limited to only 1,000 copies. This is a prestigious, complete release and one that every devotee of the extreme genre should consider. The master is not up to the standard of the mediabook and the lyrics are in German but nevertheless the Black Lava Entertainment release is undoubtedly majestic, such that it is a must for any collector worth his salt.

This edition is also bolstered by a series of bonus films on the second disc. These are extreme, hard-to-find shorts with disturbing content between pornography, homosexual-type violence and on animals (carcasses, to be exact), necrophilia and coprophilia. Definitely worth mentioning are "Der Puppenschänder 2" by Marian Dora himself and "Sane Impression 2."

Edition specifics:

- 2 DVDS
- 40-page booklet (language: German)
- Film in uncut version (language: German and English)
- Audio commentary (by Manoush) in German and English
- Bonus Films: Der Puppenschänder 2, Carnophage, Es geschah in Gotha, Polydipsia, Sane Impression 1+2, Sad Impression, Journey into Perversion.



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Barbara Torretti
Barbara Torretti
Editor and moderator of the DarkVeins community. Passionate about horror cinema, I also do reviews and interviews pertaining to the film, music and art circuit.


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