Director - Ivan Reitman
Cast - Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin
Country of Origin - Canada
Discs - 41
MSRP - $22.97
Distributor - Shout Factory
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
The Film (1.5/5)
I have heard of Cannibal Girls for years prior to these 2 releases from Shout! Factory and Films We Like. I knew it starred a couple of people from SCTV, most notably Eugene Levy of American Pie fame. I had always heard mixed things about this film, but was nonetheless, excited to see it. Cannibal Girls is one of the first feature films from Ivan Reitman whose career would peak with the classic comedy triumvirate of Meatballs, Stripes, and Ghost Busters, before descending back into the realm of dreck with film such as Twins, Junior, Kindergarten Cop, and Ghostbusters 2.
Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin "star" as a young couple Clifford and Gloria, who have been dating 3 weeks, and decided to go on a road trip. While going through a small rural community, they become entangled in a local myth about 3 women who live on the outskirts of town, and kidnap, kill, and eat their victims. The cannibal girls story is told from the perspective of a past event, so while waiting for their car to be repaired they go to a restaurant supposedly that was built into the house the girls lived in. Of course, the cannibal girls do exist, or this movie would not, and Clifford and Gloria begin to slowly (and I do mean slowly) fall into the girls trap.
I'll give it you straight, this film is some hidden horror classic, it's just simply horrible. It feels like a 60's H.G. Lewis, but significantly less entertaining. The films lacks a clear narrative, and feels at times like a jumbled mess. The first act does feature some decent gore, and some nudity courtesy of the 3 cannibal girls. The gore is surprisingly effective, and the film does have some entertaining moments, it is not enough to sustain the film for it's entire running time. As it stands Cannibal Girls feels like a film that has earned it's place in film history due to it's comedic pedigree, rather than it's actual quality, and should be viewed with that in mind. The performances from Levy and Martin are servicable, but lack the confidence of what they would acheive in their careers from SCTV and beyond.
Cannibal Girls was released twice within a 2 month period at the end of 2010 in the U.S. on DVD by those purveyors of retro cinema awesomeness Shout! Factory, and on Blu-ray in the films native Canada by the independent company Films We Like. The transfers appear to come from an identical source, however, the Blu-ray has an increased level of detail and brightness. The Shout! disc is 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen, there is significant grain, black levels are not very deep, and the print has many scratches, specks, and dirt throughout. I am sure that they did their best with what they were given, but this transfer is still not very good. The blu-ray is, of course, 1080p, but still suffers from the same problems. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, and it is serviceable, dialogue is audible, but occasionally sounded a bit thin. There is an extra audio track featuring the ringing of a cow bell, when a gory scene is about to take place warning the viewer to turn away if he/she is squeamish.
The Extras on both disc are pretty much the same, I believe the Shout! disc has a couple of radio and TV spots that are not included on the FWL Blu-ray, and the Blu-ray has I think an added interview that isn't on the Shout! disc. The major highlight of both disc are the interviews the first one is called Cannibal Guys : A Conversation with Ivan Reitman, and Dan Goldberg. It runs roughly half an hour in length, and goes into detail about the production of the film, and how they got AIP to release it theatrically. This is followed up with a 20 minute interview with Eugene Levy, which IMO, is the most entertaining part of the disc, the feature film included. It runs 20 minutes in length, takes place in a butcher shop, and features Levy trying to almost spin his way out of what we perceives as his horrible performance here.
This movie is not good. The only reason I would recommend it is if your a fan of Eugene Levy/Andrea Martin/Ivan Reitman, and wanted to see how they got their start. I guess if you're a gore fanatic you might want to check it out, but honestly, there isn't really enough here to fully recommend it on that alone. It says something about a movie, when the extras are more entertaining than the feature itself, which is the case here. If you are going to pick up Cannibal Girls, my recommendation would be to go with the FWL Blu-ray, you can currently order it from Amazon.ca, and the transfer while not great at least appears very film like, and preserves the films original theatrical/grindhouse feel.