Eaten Alive (1980)

Genres - Action, Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Jungle Film  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - Italy  |   MPAA Rating - NR
  • AllMovie Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Share on

Review by

A dry run for director Umberto Lenzi's more flamboyant Cannibal Ferox, this jungle-set gore-fest is part of a mini-trend in which wealthy Europeans travel to the Third World in search of more riches, only to meet with truly nasty ends. In this one, however, cannibals are subordinated to yet another exploitative treatment of the 1978 tragedy in Jonestown, Guyana, where over 900 people committed mass suicide in the name of People's Temple cult leader Rev. Jim Jones. Indeed, in Mangiati Vivi, it can be argued rather convincingly that the cannibals are the good guys. There are Stone Age cannibals, a Jim Jones-type cult, hired assassins, and gratuitous animal slaughters thrown onscreen every five minutes just to keep the viewer awake. Although lead actress Janet Agren's peculiar acting style seems right at home in the gothic bizarro-world of Lucio Fulci, it is extremely jarring in Lenzi's supposedly more naturalistic milieu. There's gang rape, castration, radical mastectomy by knife, dismemberment, cannibalism, and even more disgusting activity. There's almost enough gore and nudity, in fact, to make one forget the ridiculous dialogue, outrageously mean-spirited sensibility, and truly despicable treatment of animals for commercial purposes. At least there is some sense of warped justice here, as hard as one may have to dig to find it. Both of the leading characters are given a backstory of having exploited blacks in their Alabama cotton mill, only to lose all their ill-gotten money and -- in one case -- pay the ultimate price, as one underclass avenges another half a world away. In more talented hands, there could have been a real statement made with this film. As it turns out, the only statement most viewers are likely to come away with is "yuck."