Kati is getting together with her friends to throw a birthday party for her sister, Celine. The group decided to make it special by going camping out in the woods. The festivities come to an end when a group of crazed cannibalistic killers residing in an abandoned factory start picking the girls off one by one.
I reviewed Frank W. Montag's first feature film, "Slasher", back in 2010 when Unearthed had released it on DVD. You can read the review here, if you wish, but to put it simply: I hated it. I know horror movies are usually given a pass when it comes to illogical scenarios or characters, but "Slasher" was just too dumb to ignore and suffered from too many problems. Still, I was willing to give his newest movie, "Cannibal Diner", a fair chance since "Slasher" was his first movie after all. However, this was a decision I instantly regretted once I hit the play button.
Kati, her sister, Celine, and their friend, Tanja, are planning a camping trip out in the woods -- along with some of their other friends -- to celebrate Celine's birthday. After Kati's has her car stolen, she gets lost in the woods while trying to find the location of the party, causing Celine and Tanja head out to find Kati and their other friends who have gone missing as well. Unfortunately for the girls, there is a group of crazy cannibals living in an abandoned factory in the woods and they are picking the girls off one by one for their next meal. All except for Kati. They have special plans for her.
The main grievance that I have with "Cannibal Diner" is that it's another generic backwoods-slasher about a family of cannibals. Granted I knew that going in, but the reason I take issue with "Cannibal Diner" is that I don't understand how the people behind the movie failed at making a generic movie. When you are a horror fan, you come to terms with and accept the fact you are going to watch a lot of by-the-numbers movies with rehashed plots. Not a big deal. However, when said generic story has been produced, repeatedly, for the last 40 years then it should be easier to avoid issues and produced a more well rounded product. Even if you lack the experience. But when just the opposite happens it becomes difficult to find excuses to justify a movie that feels inherently sloppy.
Not only could the general problems "Cannibal Diner" has been avoided if they would have done their homework and researched movies with a similar story and structure. They also could have avoided some of their other issues had they looked at their previous movie with a critical eye. After all, there's no such thing as a perfect movie and "Slasher" was a first-time feature. So, naturally, it is a movie that has flaws. It's something else that makes "Cannibal Diner" frustrating because it has the same issues that "Slasher" had: no logic, no characters and pointless scenes. Had they taken the time to study other movies, or their own, then "Cannibal Diner" wouldn't have felt like it was a movie made by people who just didn't care.
As I said, there's almost no story here. It's nubile young women going camping and then they are stalked and slashed by this group of crazy cannibalistic weirdos. There is no story to the women in the movie and there is no story to the cannibals. The viewer is simply stuck watching the women run, pant and squeal as they try to avoid the killers. Eventually they're caught but narrowly avoid being killed, escape, and then we go right back to the running and the panting. Of course this isn't until we're 45 minutes into the movie. For more than half of the movie, we just watch the character Kati wander around the woods and an abandoned building. Which would be fine…if there was something interesting going on or if the movie had anything resembled an atmosphere.
I can't pretend that "Cannibal Diner" was any worse than other bad backwoods-slasher movies because it's not, and I'm sure I've seen worse. For me, it felt worse because it seemed as though the problems I have with the movie are the same problems I had with the director's last movie. It's a by-the-numbers sub-genre movie with many pointless scenes that exist only to pad out the runtime. How could you possibly need filler when your entire movie is about cannibals killing and eating campers? I'm sure "Cannibal Diner" will play fine for other people, but for me, I'll be hard pressed to want to check out any future films from the director after watching this and "Slasher".