No, this isn’t a documentary about the English pop band that gave us She Drives Me Crazy. They were Fine Young Cannibals, these are just The Young Cannibals. What it is, is a fine example of the current crop of low-budget English horror films.
The Young Cannibals starts with a prologue that sees a group lost in what looks like Alaska, (but was actually shot in the French Alps), resorting to cannibalism to survive. This doesn’t work so well as an unseen something tears those that indulged in human flesh apart.
We move forward and we see Nat (Megan Purvis, Don’t Knock Twice, Conjuring the Genie) with her wrists wrapped in gauze. She’s in a psych hospital but Ethan (Benjamin Sarpong-Broni) has a plan to outwit the ward nurse (Tony Manders, House On Elm Lake, Dogged) to spring her so she can celebrate her birthday camping with friends.
While this might not seem like the brightest of ideas it seems to be going quite well. The campground’s owner Blackwood (David Patrick Stucky) even gives them some nice big burgers. That’s when things go wrong. It seems he was one of the hikers from the prologue and he’s survived by making a deal with the creature. He keeps it fed by killing people and getting others to eat their flesh. Which makes them fair game for the monster. You can guess where the plot goes from here.
Writer/directors Kris Carr and Sam Fowler made The Young Cannibals directly out of film school. Armed with enthusiasm, a love for the genre and not a lot of cash they made their debut. And while it has its flaws, it is miles ahead of stuff coming out of the UK like Winterskin and Annabellum: The Curse of Salem. For one thing, there are practical gore effects and a non-CGI creature. Granted it takes to long to show up, but that’s a common enough complaint.
Shot mostly in Snowdonia National Park in Wales, The Young Cannibals also has some beautiful nature scenery during its day scenes. And the woods are quite atmospheric at night. That atmosphere is enhanced by Gabe Castro’s (The Citadel, The Covenant) score.
Where The Young Cannibals falls apart is in its characters. They’re mostly one-note and fairly interchangeable stereotypes. Ethan is the big, heroic black guy and Teddy (Samuel Freeman) is the coward who finds his courage at the right moment. The pair of stoners, etc. Once the killing starts though most of them lose even the little bit of identity they have.
Keeping the audience from identifying with any of them stops The Young Cannibals from reaching its potential. But it’s still a fun monster movie and certainly worth your time. And that includes the post-credit scene.