Cannibal Taboo
Music Video Distributors // Unrated // $24.95 // November 4, 2008
Review by Adam Tyner | posted November 26, 2008
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Graphical Version
"See, our...'church group' tends to be just for those whose tastes run to the rare and the exotic."
"Rare and exotic...?"
"By American standards. See, we tend to do a lot of things and eat a lot of things that less adventuresome folk might find peculiar, if not downright disturbing."
"...and where do you draw the line?"
"We don't."

I don't really know how anyone can justify Cannibal Taboo being on Blu-ray.

Oh, don't get me wrong: I don't mean that in some pissy, pretentious, holier-than-thou way, and it has nothin' to do with the fact that I didn't really get all that into the movie either. Nope, I'm bitching about the fact
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that this is literally a DVD dumped onto a different flavor of shiny, five inch disc. Cannibal Taboo doesn't benefit from being on Blu-ray at all, and even most of its menus are in standard definition. I mean, even though 28 Days Later was shot almost entirely on DV, at least it had that one sequence in 35mm and a theatrical quality soundtrack to give it a leg up on Blu-ray. Cannibal Taboo...? Nothing. The movie was shot on really lousy looking DV -- it'd look terrible on DVD, let alone upscaled to 1080p -- and its soundtrack is a lossy 2.0 track with an anemic bitrate. Other than JEF Films being able to wave its arms and shout, "Hey! We just hammered out our first flick on Blu-ray", I don't really get the appeal of this disc even existing at all.

So, you're probably lookin' at the title and thinking this is some sort of indie horror flick, right? Not so much. Think one of those softcore titty flicks that comes on Cinemax at 2 o'clock in the morning, slash the budget by 80%, and add in some kind of barely-there cannibalistic backstory. Cannibal Taboo takes four long, long paragraphs to rattle off the plot on the flipside of this Blu-ray case, but I don't really feel like writing that much, so I'll cram it down like this: a royally fucked-up family gets together, stands around and talks for pretty much two hours straight, everyone screws everyone else at some point, and then there's a big, bloody climax.

How a movie with "cannibal" in the title, enough boobs to fill that rack behind the counter at the 7-11 down the road, and even a couple fistfuls of incest can be this boring...I mean, that's gotta take talent. It's a gift. Cannibal Taboo has a pretty playful, goofy sense of humor that I guess is supposed to say "this is camp, so it's okay that it sucks...:wink!:", but, it's not. The movie's a mix of cringingly bad jokes, lotsa softcore sex, reams and reams of shitball dialogue, and pretty much an hour between scenes with any blood or...y'know, cannibalism in 'em. If it were maybe seventysomething minutes, I could start to laugh it off a little more, but two hours? Yikes.

Look, I've devoted way too much of my life to seeking out schlocky exploitation flicks, so I really am somewhere in the neighborhood of the target audience for this sort of flick. What does Cannibal Taboo do well? Get a half-battalion of women nekkid and writhing around pretty much everyone else with a screen credit. Other than that...? Not so much. Skip It.

Cannibal Taboo was shot on really rough looking digital video, and it's been clumsily upscaled from standard definition to 1080p for this Blu-ray release. It's really not an exaggeration to say that this is the single worst looking title on the format, bar none. The 1.78:1 image is extremely soft and borderline-devoid of any fine detail at all, colors are saddled with that pasty, cheap DV look, and the MPEG-2 compression is bogged down by some nasty artifacting at this meager bitrate.

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Cannibal Taboo sports a Dolby Digital mono-ish (192Kbps) soundtrack, and there's not all that much to rattle off here either. An aggravatingly heavy hiss creeps into certain patches, the recording of the dialogue has a kinda home movie quality to it, the sarcastic-fingerquotes "score" sounds like it was lifted off some public domain CD from Big Lots... Yeah. Sucks.

Uh, kinda goes without saying that there aren't any subtitle streams or alternate soundtracks this time around.

'Snot much. "Meat is Murder" (16 min.) piles together a mix of behind-the-scenes footage, some quick, candid interviews with pretty much everyone on both sides of the camera, and clips from the flick. This making-of featurette runs through most of the big scenes in Cannibal Taboo, including the first stab at incest and the blood-splattered climax, and the make-up effects are slathered with a lot of attention too. A high-res scan of a magazine article, a really rough lookin' trailer, and a set of bios/filmographies round out the extras.

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The Final Word
Literally a DVD lazily dumped onto a Blu-ray disc, Cannibal Taboo doesn't feature true high definition video, next-gen bells and whistles, lossless or even high bitrate audio...nothing that'd justify a release on this format. Aside from the fact that the faux-high-def version is a buck cheaper on Amazon and that Blu-ray discs hold up well to abuse, there's no reason whatsoever to buy this over a DVD, and considering how lousy this softcore exploitation flick is, even that'd be a tough sell. Skip It.

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