Why are people so fascinated by cannibalism? Is it the unabashed violence, the psychological toll it exacts on its victims, or is it the question, “Why in God’s name would anyone eat another person?” Regardless of the answer, moviegoers seem to get stories about people eating other people , just as much as film studios and streaming services enjoy producing them.
Whether you personally like the occasional elbow bite or prefer to leave human flesh eating to the experts, we got a feeling you’d want to know what the top 10 best cannibal movies of all time are. Be warned: useless gore, grisly storylines, and cannibals galore await in the films below, and if you watch any or all of them with someone else and they start staring at your forearms like they’re chicken wings, do yourself a favor RUN.
10 hunger (2009)
Five characters – Jordan, Grant, Luke, Anna and Alex – wake up in the dark. They soon discover that they have been kidnapped, taken to the bottom of an abandoned well and provided with everything they need to survive except one thing – food. A clock on the wall indicates they have 30 days in the hole and a camera tells them someone is watching. They soon suspect they are part of a sick experiment to test human resolve to stay alive. The film explores humanity and gets the audience to ask themselves one question: Would I eat someone to survive?
9. The platforms (2019)
The platforms is a Spanish social science fiction horror film set in a large tower known as the “Vertical Self-Management Center”. Its inhabitants are fed via a platform that descends through the levels of the tower each day. The lucky ones above get fed, and those below starve. This leads to conflict, suicide, murder and, of course, cannibalism. The film follows Goreng, a kind-hearted man who didn’t understand the horrors of the pit until he was imprisoned there. It premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the People’s Choice Award for Midnight Madness. But be warned: it is an intense, existential film that will make you question society, morality and yourself.
8th. Fresh (2022)
Fresh is a thriller comedy about Noa, a young woman who starts dating a charming man named Steve. When Steve invites Noa on a weekend trip, she agrees against her better judgment. She soon wakes up in captivity and discovers Steve’s terrible nature. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received positive reviews from both critics and audiences.
7. Sweeney Todd: Fleet Street’s demonic barber (2007)
This melodramatic musical slasher film was directed by Tim Burton and stars the likes of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. It tells the story of Sweeney Todd, a Victorian-era English hairdresser in search of revenge. While he is a full-time hairstylist, he also hires himself out as a serial killer, murdering his victims with a razor. With the help of accomplice Mrs. Lovett, he turns the bodies into meat pies and feeds them to the general public. The film was praised for its catchy musical numbers, the cast’s outstanding performances, and its fidelity to the 1979 original Sweeney Todd Musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler on which the film is based.
6. The street (2009)
The street is a post-apocalyptic survival film based on the 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy. The plot follows a father and son as they journey through a post-apocalyptic wasteland after an unspecified event brings ruin to the world. The two struggle to survive while gathering scarce supplies and dodging the roaming gangs who are, you guessed it, cannibals. The film received critical acclaim and multiple nominations, including a BAFTA nomination for Best Cinematography. It’s chilling and full of despair, but the pain of watching is matched by the joy of seeing the mesmerizing love between father and son.
5. The hills have eyes (2006)
The hills have eyes is a remake of Wes Craven’s 1977 film of the same name. It originally had an NC-17 rating, but was later reduced to an R rating. If that doesn’t tell you what kind of movie this is, this synopsis will. The film follows a family who are targeted by a group of cannibalistic mutants after their car breaks down in the barren New Mexico desert near an abandoned nuclear zone. After a hidden spike strip punctures their tires, they find evidence of other people who have met the same fate, a mutilated corpse of a dog, and the disturbing group of people orchestrating it all. Critical reviews were half and half, but audiences relished the film’s gruesome nature and found its unbridled carnage refreshing.
4. Bone Tomahawk (2015)
Bone Tomahawk is a western cannibal horror film that had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest. It follows a small town sheriff who leads a group of men into a wild region to rescue three people kidnapped by a cannibalistic Native American tribe. The film received a positive response from critics and festival-goers for its gritty film style, excellent acting, the director’s creative vision and the script’s dialogues. It also received a Certified Fresh award from Rotten Tomatoes, meaning it has a tomatometer score of 75% or more, which is a remarkable achievement.
3. The Green Inferno (2013)
The Green Inferno was primarily inspired by the Italian cannibal films of the late 1980s and early 1990s cannibal holocaust, so you know it’s going to be a bloody ride. The film follows Justine, a college freshman who joins a student activist group. The group embarks on a journey into the Amazon rainforest to prevent a petrochemical company from clearing the rainforest and displacing the indigenous people who live there. But when they crash in the middle of the rainforest, they must fight for survival after being captured by a cannibal tribe. The film was poorly received by critics but the majority of the audience enjoyed it immensely, which deserves it to be considered one of the best cannibal movies.
2. cannibal holocaust (1980)
This Italian horror film is one of the most graphic films in history. In it, a New York University anthropologist embarks on a rescue mission to the Amazon rainforest to find a crew of filmmakers who have disappeared while making a documentary about local cannibal tribes. Though he doesn’t find the crew alive, he sees their footage, and it horrifies him. The graphic violence sparked much controversy, leading to the film being banned in several countries and director Ruggero Deodato being arrested for obscenity. Although Deodato has been acquitted and banned in some countries, it is still considered a highly controversial film for its excessive violence, depiction of sexual assault and real-life animal abuse. While critical reception was mixed at best, it garnered a cult following. The take away from this movie, as well The Green InfernoDon’t go into the Amazon rainforest if you don’t want to be eaten.
1. Hannibal (2001)
Hannibal is a psychological crime thriller based on the 1999 novel by Thomas Harris. It is the direct sequel of silence of the Lambs, another top-notch thriller, follows the disgraced FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling. Starling attempts to apprehend cannibal serial killer Hannibal Lector before one of his previous victims manages to find and kill Lector by feeding him to pigs. It was a highly anticipated release and broke box office records in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. Although it is not viewed as positively as silence of the Lambs and was criticized for its violence, critics still praised the performance and visuals. However, audiences had generally positive reviews and thought it was a thrill to watch.