David Gifford’s review published on Letterboxd:
Cannibal Holocaust is a movie that is no stranger to controversy. Even that statement undermines just how controversial this movie was and still continues to be. Unlike many films that take the label extreme, Cannibal Holocaust has remained as controversial as ever. Some for the right reasons, some for the not so right reasons. The elephant in the room is that I hate the violence towards the animals in this movie and the justification only makes it slightly better that they fed the animals to the villagers. I recommend watching the Animal Cruelty Free version that even the director now approves of, and I do wish that Shudder would have waved some of the controversy by showing that version instead (although for the sake of censorship I understand the decision to show that one). Now that, that discussion is over its time to talk about why this movie is so great.
First the movie has a really great story. It isn’t an extreme movie that is just extreme to shock the audience although it certainly does that. Instead it has a lot to be said about our fascination with meddling in matters we don’t understand, treating others the way we want to be treated, and how media glorifies the violence. Some might not think that the movie didn’t justify those messages with how graphic it is, but sometimes shock is a valid emotion that can bring change along with it. If it doesn’t really sound like something you can handle, then by all means pass on the film, but it really is a powerful movie for me and the message that it does have especially about the media is very interesting to me.
At the end of the day, the controversy will always outweigh this movie which is a bit of a shame. It’s quality cinema in most every definition from the acting to the camera work, to the effects. Most people discount this as trash though because of the amount of shocking content in the movie. I understand fully why this wouldn’t appeal to everyone. I just wanted to kinda defend this movie as its one that I really do think it pretty great.