It took us awhile to realize that this alleged doc is a highly realistic prank. Cannibal purports to be a vérité chronicle of the misadventures of two aspiring TV writers, Gil Ripley and Dave Roberts, who try their hands at a reality show after failing at sitcoms. Deliberately setting their sights as low as possible, they pitch various producers on a Big Brother knockoff to be called Virgin Territory, in which ten male virgins vie for the honor of bedding a porn star. They’re getting nowhere until they meet Kevin Blatt, a repulsive impresario of sleaze whose prior credits include marketing the Paris Hilton sex tape and a video of a porn queen having cosmetic surgery on her labia. Blatt likes their idea, but gets even more enthusiastic when the writers jokingly outline a second concept, for a show in which contestants would be stranded without food on a desert island and induced to believe that someone would ultimately be eaten. (As preposterous as this sounds on paper, it plays quite convincingly on the screen.) We’d love to know whether the people auditioning to be on the show were in on the joke, and that goes double for the actual cast members. But as a satire of the vileness of reality TV, Cannibal comes in a distant second to Daniel Minahan’s nightmarish Series 7: The Contenders.
Simon Perry, Michael Craig