The Green Inferno
by E. Ladd
Eli Roth’s latest film, The Green Inferno, isn’t for everybody and certainly not for the faint of heart. But if you happen to enjoy explicitly violent, bloody, Grand Guignol-esque “torture porn” and Italian cannibal exploitation horror films from the 70s and early 80s, then this movie might be right up your alley. If you’ve seen Roth’s previous films Cabin Fever, Hostel, or Hostel II, then you know exactly what you’re in for.
The story begins with pretty college freshman Justine (Lorenza Izzo) observing a group of student activists protesting outside her dorm room. She soon becomes intrigued by their work and by their charismatic leader Alejandro (Ariel Levy) and after an invitation from group member Jonah (Aaron Burns), Justine attends one of the activist’s meetings. Their latest endeavor involves a trip to the Amazon to protect the rainforest and an indigenous tribe from a gas company bulldozing the jungle. The plan is to bring attention via social media to the plight of these people and their habitat. Justine jumps on board and soon finds herself traveling down to South America. Once there, things take a turn for the unexpected (but no, not really, because this is a horror film, after all) with Justine and fellow naïve students suddenly finding themselves at the mercy of the very tribe they thought they were helping protect.
This is a bloody mess of a movie. And it’s not just the blatant gore to which I refer. Actually, aside from one particularly macabre and shocking scene when the activists are first brought to the natives’ village, I didn’t find the rest of the film to be as stomach-churning or frightening as it could’ve been. It started to become predictable. But, I should also preface these statements by sharing the fact that I love and watch a lot of horror films and have worked on a number of them (spending wet evenings lugging fake human entrails through woods and spraying fake blood on people), so perhaps my opinion is a bit skewed. Nonetheless, after seeing the previews for this film, having found Hostel a bit horrifying, and knowing this film was inspired by 1980’s truly grotesque Cannibal Holocaust (a film which was banned in multiple countries for the actual killing of animals, portrayal of violent sexual assault, etc. and whose director was charged with murder because they actually thought he killed his actors), I think I expected Green Inferno to be more brutal than it was. But, hey, that’s just me.
Inferno will probably deliver for most Eli Roth fans. It comes complete with buckets of blood, poor acting, lack of the suspension of disbelief, frat boy humor involving diarrhea/jerking off/pot smoking gags, and a few twists that truly make no sense. He even managed to piss off some indigenous rights’ groups who are up in arms over his uncivilized portrayal of Amazonian natives. *Side note on that: the tribe in this film is fictitious but most of the ritualistic practices (especially one that factors heavily into the climax scene), are really not performed, to the extent or in this combination, by the people who inhabit that area of the world. But, ah, moviemaking. This film is certainly twisted, obviously bload-soaked, surprisingly almost nudity-free, and overall, kind of silly. It’s not a movie I would recommend to my mother, by any means, but horror fans might get a kick out of it.
Watch the trailer for The Green Inferno
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