Tuesday, November 18, 2014

IN THE LAND OF THE CANNIBALS (2003)

IN THE LAND OF THE CANNIBALS (2003)

Label: Intervision Picture Corp
Region Code: 1 NTSC
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 91 Minutes
Video: Full Frame (1.33:1 )
Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo
Director: Bruno Mattei
Cast: Claudio Morales, Lou Randall, Cindy Jelic Matic

Shot back to back with MONDO CANNIBAL in the Philippines this is another cannibal film from Italian sleaze-master Bruno Mattei and largely rips-off CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST yet again. This time around Mattei has created a genre mash-up of Italian cannibal films and the testosterone fueled action films of the 80s - most notably PREDATOR.  

A team of commandos are sent to the South American jungle to rescue the daughter who has fallen prisoner to - you guessed it - a tribe of cannibals. There's just not a lot new under the sun here but as a fun mash-up shot on the cheap there's some fun to be had. Masculine soldiers armed to the teeth up against hordes of cannibal tribesman who aren't quite prepared for what they're about to encounter.


This one is not as gut-churning with the cannibalism as MONDO CANNIBAL and instead is quite action-packed with loads of testosterone fueled gun battles and acts of sweaty machismo pouring off the screen. Thing borrowed from PREDATOR: A group of commandos flown by helicopter to a hostile territory - check. A musclebound white commando - check. A musclebound black commando - check. An indigenous tracker - check. Arm severed while shooting machine gun - check. Scorpion stabbed with survival knife - check. Watching this I laughed to myself at just how much stupid and fun it was turning out to be, while certainly not original or keenly directed there's no denying the pure entertainment value of this genre mash-up.


Claudio Morales from MONDO CANNIBAL reappears here as a morally challenged jungle guide tasked with leading the commandos through the jungle providing a lot of exposition as he explains the strange tribal rituals and cannibal etiquette we witness. Also returning are Cindy Matic as the politician's daughter turned white cannibal queen who dances drugged-up and topless in a few choice scenes. 


Shot in the Philippines which makes for a decent substitute for South America jungle and Mattei makes nice use of the locations squeezing as much production value out of it as he can on a limited budget. The gore is not front and center but we do get some gruesome cannibal corpses and bloodletting throughout - staying true to the cannibal film aesthetic we do get a brief scene of animal cruelty as a snake is killed onscreen and rather needlessly as that so be prepared for that. 

I kept hoping right up till the end that there would be an alien life form thrown into the mix but it didn't happen. No aliens with infrared vision and shoulder-mounted lasers appeared but as a cannibal-action mash-up this is a damn fine piece of trash cinema and a thoroughly entertaining watch. 

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