Island of the Cannibal Death Gods Movie Review
Written by Simon Bland
Written and directed by Jeff Freeman
2011, 60 minutes, Not Rated
Released on 6th January 2012
Steven Brack as Steve McNeal
Keenan Browder as Dave Parker
Cassandra Burton as Cannibal Girl
Lisa Eva Gold as Cannibal Girl
Florence LeMerle as Robin Murphy
William Newcomb as Wild Bill
Derek Pixley as Deadly Derek
Beau Yotty as Bad Ass Beau
It’s funny how things come back around. Who’d have thought that in 2012 we’d be dishing out Hollywood’s most coveted golden bloke to a silent film? But that’s just how cinema works. Some genres start off with terrible production values, get given a spit shine to turn a quick buck and then bizarrely become intentionally terrible. They’re right back where they started, but this time accompanied by a sly wink aimed squarely at the viewer. But it’s not an exact science. Throwback feature Grindhouse and Ti West’s The House of The Devil are two winning examples, however Jeff Freeman’s ballsy debut Island of The Cannibal Death Gods is one that’ll divide nostalgia-horror fans.
The plot is nothing special. A movie star, his brother-in-law and his agent decide to get away from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood by booking a Caribbean fishing trip. Lead by their gung-ho lady captain, they soon stumble upon a mysterious island inhabited by a group of scantily clad cannibal women. These tribal terrors systematically hunt, kill and chow down on our three doomed city slickers before revealing a surprising secret that twists the movie into new terrain.
A love letter to the shlock cinema of the late '60s and early '70s, Freeman’s directorial debut lowers its production values to dangerous depths in order to capture a certain B-movie feel. Despite opening with a heartfelt dedication to genre legends Russ Meyer, Roger Corman, Herschel Gordon Lewis and Lloyd Kaufman, at times it’s hard to tell whether some faults are intentional or genuinely accidental. Be prepared to endure crappy camera angles, terrible sound, shoddy homemade effects and wooden performances throughout this very low budget horror. It’s hit and miss at best; perhaps we’re all suppose to be in on the joke but when the audio falls out of synch with the visuals in one early dialogue sequence, chances are you’ll be scratching your head instead of wryly smiling.
Any genuine terror Island of the Cannibal Death Gods tries to convey is unfortunately lost in its almost 100% DIY attitude. Perhaps this movie would have benefited from finding a middle ground between throwback and modern cinema. Instead it’s doomed by its own dedication to cheap production, stripping from it any hope of emulating the gritty charm of retro horrors. What we’re left with is a gore story that tickles funny bones instead of chilling spines and fails to live up to the expectations of its amazingly captivating title. Even its twist-ending feels more bad joke than gob-smacker. That said, all those who cherish their so-bad-it’s-good horror flicks will undoubtedly see these gripes as plus points. The average viewer on the other hand would be hard pressed to book a return visit to this Island.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.