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  • Rev Horror

Cannibal Mukbang

Dir. Aimee Kuge (2023)

A lonely man meets a professional Mukbanger with exotic tastes.

Indie horror is something special, but that doesn't always mean it's good. I've done everything I can, with what limited reach I am able to attain, to sing the praises far and wide of independent cinema to anyone who would listen, and I've always really appreciated the yearning for people outside the traditional studio system to make films anyway. Unfortunately, sometimes there's a reason why the studio films choose to make the movies that they do, and indie films are often subpar in comparison. Occasionally, though, the opposite is true: a film that the studios wouldn't dare make comes out of nowhere to be an indie star,

Mark (Nate Wise) is a damaged man, figuratively and literally. He still carries a plate in his head from the car accident that killed his parents, and the only relationship that he has in the world is with his disgusting frat-bro sibling Maverick (Clay von Carlowitz). When he meets Ash (April Consalo) in a convenience store, he's tempted to make a pass at her but ultimately decides not to. That is, of course, until she accidentally hits him with her car. What follows is Mark's descent into a tragic and titillating love story with the woman of his dreams... and his nightmares. The kindred souls have a lot to offer each other, but they just might not fit as well as they think.

Cannibal Mukbang is a disturbing indie horror that hits on every single level. It's bizarre, it's darkly comedic, and it is utterly enthralling: despite the weirdness, I simply could not look away. It's sick and twisted, a brilliant depiction of justice, devotion, and love that pushes a lot of boundaries that you don't generally expect to see pushed. It's indie bravery, a flick that isn't afraid to alienate an audience because it's never sure that it's going to have one to begin with. It deserves one, though, and it's a hell of a film, a movie that transcends the barriers of budget (and often good taste).

The performance of the two leads, April Consalo and Nate Wise, is flawless, filled with quirks and idiosyncracies that flesh out their characters so much more than I expected. Wise's stoner-like detachment works perfectly for the deeply flawed Mark, and Consalo is delicious deranged as the secretive (and ruthless) Ash. The contrast of Mark's attempts to form a connection, the activities the pair engage in, and the undercurrents of unlikely abuse are fascinating, and it's an extraordinary idea that is fully fleshed out in quite possibly the best indie film I've seen this year. Even the gore, which is perhaps a bit understated in comparison to the rich, character-driven plot that occurs between deaths, is fantastic, far better looking than the film's smaller budget would indicate.

My one gripe about the film is its title. Cannibal Mukbang sounds like some eye-rollingly disgusting Troma film, though if anyone knows me, they know that's hardly a slight. And to be honest, that's what I was fully expecting when I pressed play on the movie. What I got, however, was a beautifully shot and wonderfully ominous story from just that right spot in left field. I hate to think that people will pass the film by simply because of the name, because they'd be missing out on a movie that is more than worth their time. Stunning cinematography, excellent performances, and a twist that is deliciously demented, I cannot recommend this one enough for anybody that digs indie horror like I do.

Who this movie is for: Indie horror fans, Cannibal film lovers, Food-fluencers

Bottom line: Cannibal Mukbang is at once not at all what it sounds like... and exactly what it sounds like. It's a phenomenal film, an indie with some serious bite. It's a beautiful and earnest portrayal of past trauma, abuse, and revenge, and it's got some of the most endearing acting I've seen in a horror in quite a while. If you get a chance to check this out on the festival tour, I highly recommend that you do so. If you don't, keep your eyes peeled for when it becomes available on streaming or physical media.

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