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Cinema Obscura 

This Huntsville-shot tale of cannibalism is memorable only for its ambiguity and extreme misanthropy. We open on some girl or other getting slaughtered smash cut with a liver-spotted CEO fat cat (Kenneth Russell) munching noisily on suspect meat. Not only does this scene continue for far too long (a recurring theme in a nearly two-and-a-half-hour film), the constant jumping divests the film of any dramatic tension. The split-second shots of torture and old people eating might make for an unsettling Nine Inch Nails video, but it results in a damn-near incomprehensible film, leaving the plot (once a year a secret organization of corporate muckamucks convenes to feast on the flesh of “sinners and hippies”) to be revealed almost exclusively via promotional materials.

The cameraman’s ADHD (not to mention a cast primarily consisting of indistinguishable rail-thin white girls with dark hair and angular facial features) takes its toll quick, and — once the plot gets bogged down with a frat-party B-story and the heavy-handed cannibal allegory is dropped for an even heavier-handed rape metaphor— you soon get the sense that even writer-director Rodriguez has forgotten what’s going on.

Despite forced political posturing, the film’s rape fixation is all about its shock, not artistic value — unless there’s some deeper symbolism to a woman being forcibly sodomized by an old man dressed as a giant baby (George Russell, who took home Best Actor at the S.A. Horrific Film Fest for his efforts) that I’m just too dumb to decipher. The painful aftermath of it all is glossed over (one victim even brags of “getting laid”) in favor of depicting or casually describing even more rape — date rape, gang-rape, what have you — leaving I Spit on Your Grave looking mature and responsible by comparison. While the $29.95 purchase price (available at is hardly bargain-bin, the entire film is supposed to stream for free from the website. At press time though, every film clip linked to a music video by Vertical Horizon, which is probably even more disturbing.

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September 23, 2020

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