The Green Inferno (2013)
Director: Eli Roth
Cast: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Sky Ferreira, Nicolas Martinez
When a director dedicates his career to horror films the way John Carpenter or Wes Craven did, it’s something special. Even more so today, when in my opinion, horror films have gotten the shaft by Hollywood. The glory days of horror films are long gone, supplanted with watered down horror for thirteen year olds. So when a director like Roth continues to make horror films in spite of the way horror films are being treated by Hollywood, then I pay attention, then I applaud. I mean, technically, by making films like The Green Inferno, Eli Roth is going against the grain, he’s fighting for this type of film to get out there, to be seen. Like Rock and Roll, gory horror films aren’t dead yet. I speak this way coming from the perspective of a guy who lived through the glorious 80’s, a time when gory horror was king in cinemas and films like Cannibal Holocaust (1980) would actually get released in theaters! A time when Hellraiser films didn’t go straight to video! So, is Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno worthy of celebrating? Is it a true throwback to the glory days of gory horror?
The film is all about these activist college kids who want to tie themselves up to some trees in the middle of the Amazon jungle, you know to protect nature from the evil corporations who want to take the trees down in the name of ‘progress’. To these kids, this jungle belongs to the tribes that live in them! Problem comes when the plane they came in crash-lands in the middle of the jungle and the college kids are abducted by a tribe of hungry for flesh cannibals! Will the college students escape with their lives? Will they see civilization ever again?
The Green Inferno is the kind of film you hear about for years and years before you actually get to see it. For example, it was made way back in 2013, and its only now, in 2016 that I finally get to see it. This type of delayed release happens with films of this graphic nature, because major Hollywood studios don’t really want to back this sort of film up. They don’t even want to spend the money marketing it, because to them, these types of films are made for a cult audience, a small niche of freaks who will undoubtedly love it. To the rest of the world, this is a disgusting film, worthy of rejection. And it’s true, this is the way these films are perceived by the grand majority of people. I suggested The Green Inferno to some coworkers, I spoke of the films connections to Cannibal Holocaust, showed them some pics. Their reaction? The general consensus was that I needed psychological treatment. Typical. It’s safe to say that this film is definitely something gorehounds will no doubt appreciate, everyone else will find it too disturbing. The gore is truly something on this one. I mean, the camera does not shy away from the bloody bits. In this sense, The Green Inferno got things just right. Also, kudos to Roth for actually shooting in Peru, in the jungle in the middle of nowhere, it makes all the difference in the world.
But is it a good movie? I say yeah, it entertained. It shocked. It complied with all those things you are meant to see in a cannibal movie. My only real gripe with the movie were some situations that were downright silly, I counted three of these situations. The problem with these unbelievable situations is that they takes you out of the film, which is so deadly serious most of the time. Okay, I’ll get down to it, if you don’t want to read about this scene, skip to the next paragraph [SPOILER ALER! SPOILER ALERT!] So the scene that was extremely silly and unconvincing was this scene in which the young college dudes who have been caught by the cannibals decide it’s a good idea to put a bag of weed inside of one of their dead friends, so that when the cannibals eat her, they will all get high. The idea being that this will give them a chance to escape. It’s not a bad idea, the problem is that it’s not enough weed to get a whole tribe high. Worse part is they put the weed inside of a plastic bag, which would not allow for the body to absorb it? The whole scene just made no sense. Soon enough the whole freaking cannibal tribe is high on weed and laughing and ha ha ha…the big payoff is of course that the cannibals get the munchies, and kablam, there is the punch line of the whole thing. I get it. But it was not pulled off in a convincing matter. [END OF SPOILER] Sadly, this was not the only nonsensical moment in the film.
Roth and his Peruvian cannibals.
Though effective, The Green Inferno (2013) does not reach the levels of tension and intensity that say Cannibal Holocaust (1980) reaches, the latter being the most obvious influential film here. Eli Roth even includes a list of all the Cannibal films that came before The Green Inferno in the end credits, so it’s safe to say that The Green Inferno is a film that pays respects to a sub-genre that has long gone; society deemed these types of films too strong, too much. Plus, it’s hard to make money of a type of film that not everyone has the guts to see. A lot of people can’t take seeing cannibals eating eyeballs and tongues, even if it’s all actors and special effects, it’s the concept that gets people uncomfortable. For example, Cannibal Holocaust was banned in many countries, people stood up and walked out of theaters because they just couldn’t take it, the director had to go to court to prove the actors were not harmed or killed while filming, I mean, Cannibal Holocaust shook the film industry back in the early 80’s. The Green Inferno feels like an afterthought to all that, a homage every step of the way. In my opinion it needed better actors, these characters were too squeaky clean to ever attempt anything like this. I mean, okay, they were activists, but activists who do this sort of thing aren’t preppy, rich kids looking for an adventure. The young actors weren’t the best choice in my book, they didn’t feel like the kind of people who’d pull off a stunt like this. I guess that was the whole idea, to thrust rich daddy’s girls into the middle of hell itself, but it’s just one more element that wasn’t pulled off convincingly. Why does Eli Roth continue to populate his films with unlikable protagonists? All that aside, I ended up enjoying The Green Inferno, in an age where horror films are de-horrified, or watered down, I applaud this one for being so ‘in your face’.