7 Movies Like Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Staff & contributors

Another indie zombie movie? Far from it. One Cut of the Dead, written and directed by Shin'ichirô Ueda, became a global sensation following its small theatrical run in Japan for its creative and original screenplay. A hack director and film crew are shooting a low-budget zombie movie in an abandoned WWII Japanese facility when they are attacked by real zombies. That’s all you need to know about the plot, as the film is full of surprises that will catch you off guard. Wondering how an independent film with a budget of just $25,000 was able to gross over $30 million worldwide? The answer lies in the film itself. 

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Horror

Actor: Ayana Goda, Donguri, Harumi Shuhama, Harumi Syuhama, Hiroshi Ichihara, Kazuaki Nagaya, Manabu Hosoi, Mao, Miki Yoshida, Sakina Asamori, Shinichiro Osawa, Shiori Nukumi, Shuntaro Yamazaki, Takayuki Hamatsu, Yuzuki Akiyama

Director: Shin'ichirō Ueda, Shin'ichiro Ueda

Rating: Not Rated, Unrated

Partially based on the 860-page memoir, "A White House Diary", and on the actual audio recordings Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson made during her time as first lady, The Lady Bird Diaries is an intimate reworking of a past we still know very little about. Told from the vantage point of First Lady Johnson candidly and in detail, the audio track shapes the whole film. All the archival footage is nicely complemented by hand-drawn animations to fit the missing images, but all the visuals are always in service of the narration. In this way, the documentary becomes a piece of history and an archive in itself, its illustrative functions – a crucial storytelling tool for posteriority.

Genre: Documentary

Director: Dawn Porter

At two hours and nearly 30 minutes, Stonewalling is quite long. The third film from spouses Ryuji Otsuka and Huang Ji takes place in slow, slice-of-life moments, centered around a female lead that mostly doesn’t actively make choices for her own life, so it can feel frustrating to watch. But as the film unfolds, Lynn’s passivity turns out to be the tragically familiar surrender of today’s working class. Lynn tries to make choices to pay out her mother’s debt, to ensure that she’s not indebted herself, through jobs that commodify her youth, her beauty, and even her body, but each move consequently limits her next options. She tries to bargain for other solutions, but it turns out these solutions were never there in the first place. All she can do is quietly adapt, with each failed promise culminating into a baby’s cry.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Cui Chu, Huang Xiaoxiong, Liu Long, Xiao Zilong, Yao Honggui

Director: Huang Ji, Ryuji Otsuka

Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is compassionate and diminutive, but her social awkwardness hinders her as she attempts to navigate young adulthood. After recently being hospitalized for self-harm, Lee is determined to prove she is capable of autonomously taking care of herself. She begins working as a secretary for E. Edward Grey (James Spader), a meticulous attorney.

It’s not long before both Lee and Edward realize they’re attracted to one another’s opposite natures: Lee’s obedience and Edward’s dominance. They begin a mutually consensual BDSM relationship, with both experiencing a sexual and emotional awakening. 

The premise may sound familiar: 50 Shades of Grey is widely acknowledged as, at the very least, owing its title to Secretary. But while 50 Shades of Grey portrays an unhealthy, toxic, and superficial idea of a BDSM affair, Secretary maintains that consent must be at the core of any relationship. And ultimately for Lee and Edward, BDSM becomes a way for them to communicate and overcome their individual pain, and unite stronger as a vulnerable, loving whole.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Alison Tatlock, Amy Locane, Christina Gray, Erin Cressida Wilson, Ezra Buzzington, Herbert Russell, James Spader, Jeremy Davies, Jessica Tuck, Julene Renee, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, Lacey Kohl, Lauren Cohn, Lesley Ann Warren, Lily Knight, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mary Joy, Michael Mantell, Osgood Perkins, Oz Perkins, Patrick Bauchau, Sabrina Grdevich, Stephen McHattie, Steven Fierberg, Steven Shainberg

Director: Steven Shainberg

Rating: R

Stories like Il Mare and Your Name/Kimi no Na Wa work because, unlike other romances, the conflict is understandably difficult. After all, how the heck can anyone fight against time and space? Love You Long Time takes a stab at the unique time-bending premise, with one main difference: the movie’s main lovers can talk to each other directly through an old pair of two-way radios. There’s no need for the two to depend on physical letters or texts. This difference is interesting – immediately, it allows Director JP Habac to play with cinematography, editing, and acting, to make us fall in love with the couple. Split between 2018 and 2022, the film makes meaningful points about the past and present, the years lost to the pandemic, and separation. However, without spoiling anything, the film’s third-act plot twists don’t land as well as they could have. Having them back to back made the plot nearly incomprehensible, and sadly, doesn’t resolve the conflict driving the film.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Ana Abad-Santos, Arlene Muhlach, Carlo Aquino, Meanne Espinosa, Patrick Quiroz

Director: Jaime P. Habac Jr.

With a lack of films on female sexuality, Thank You for Coming feels refreshing. Kanika Kapoor seeks out sexual fulfillment as much as she seeks an emotional connection, due to the fairytale promises given to many women from girlhood. She hopes for both, knowing that if she doesn’t go through it the right way, she’ll be looked down upon the same way her single mother was. The sex comedy is reminiscent of Mamma Mia, but instead of a child figuring out who of her potential three dads is hers through ABBA songs, it’s Kanika figuring out who from her past and present lovers gave her an orgasm, with excellent, though slightly disconnected tracks. The playful approach is fun and exciting, but this approach stops halfway through, and certain plot aspects and the choice of a male director detracts from the feminist, sex-positive message it wants to portray.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Anil Kapoor, Ayesha Raza Mishra, Bhumi Pednekar, Dolly Ahluwalia, Dolly Singh, Karan Kundra, Kusha Kapila, Natasha Rastogi, Pradhuman Singh, Shehnaaz Gill, Shibani Bedi, Sushant Divgikar

Director: Karan Boolani

Not to be confused with James Cameron’s 1989 film, The Abyss isn’t the worst disaster film, but it could have been so much more. Inspired by the earthquake that actually happened in the real life town of Kiruna, there’s an important story here about worker safety, responsible mining, improving emergency protocols, and preserving the environment. However, like plenty of disaster movies, the film plays out in the most predictable ways, attaching a frankly irrelevant family drama that takes time away from the terrifying, claustrophobic nightmare that could have been. It does have decent effects, and even some decent scenes, but The Abyss is more interested in using the real life earthquake to manufacture drama, rather than actually looking into the manmade disaster.

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Angela Kovács, Edvin Ryding, Felicia Truedsson, Jakob Hultcrantz Hansson, Jakob Öhrman, Kardo Razzazi, Katarina Ewerlöf, Peter Franzén, Tintin Poggats Sarri, Tuva Novotny

Director: Richard Holm

Rating: R