James Milstead’s review published on Letterboxd:
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (18)
D: Ruggero Deodato
United Artists/F.D. Cinematografica (Franco Di Nunzio & Franco Palaggi)
Italy 🇮🇹 1980
W: Gianfranco Clerici
DP: Sergio D'Offizi
Ed: Vincenzo Tomassi
Mus: Riz Ortolani
Robert Kerman (Prof. Harold Monroe), Gabriel Yorke (Alan Yates), Luca Giorgio Barbareschi (Mark Tomaso), Francesca Ciardi (Faye Daniels), Perry Pirkanen (Jack Anders)
It wouldn't be an understatement to admit that Cannibal Holocaust is an incredibly unpleasant film to watch, and it's understandable why it was banned in many countries, Italian law officials actually going as far as arresting the director under a murder charge as they believed this to be a legitimate snuff film and the murders caught on camera were real.
From a realism standpoint, the film is incredibly convincing, using documentary-style footage and raw editing to convince that the gruesome violence presented is the real deal, but at the same time, it's quite disgusting to watch.
The plot sees an anthropologist go into the "Green Inferno" of the Amazon rainforest, searching for a missing documentary crew and discovering two indigenous tribes at war with each other. The crews footage is recovered, recording some barbaric practices and their own deaths.
The film does deliver an ambiguous moral question over who the true savages are, as well pointing out the lack of ethics in journalism, but even these interpretations have been met with cynicism.
The truth is that it's an ugly, grim film, and though it captures a brutal realism, it's just far too disgusting to be the subject of repeat viewings.