Director: Eli Roth
Notable Cast: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Banton, Magda Apanowicz, Ignacia Allamand, Daryl Sabara, Sky Ferreira
Love him or hate him (or both), but Eli Roth has a knack for causing controversy. His Hostel films certainly garnered their fair share of both love and hate from fans and critics, but that didn’t stop them from being talked about. A key factor that kept them (and still keeps them) as conversation topics long after their actual impact has faded. This is also going to be the legacy of his latest horror film, the cannibal survival flick The Green Inferno, as the film has earned its fair share of controversy and clever marketing schemes to keep it relevant. After an extensive delay in release, the film finally hit theaters and the results are much different than expected – for both better and worse.
Justine (Izzo) is a college freshmen looking to leave an impact on the world around her. She becomes captivated with a local activist Alejandro (Levy) and joins his cause for fighting off some evil land developers in the Amazon and ends up with a select group actually heading down to stream a protest live online. While things are not always what they seem, a terrible turn of events finds the activists within the hands of one of the tribes they were trying to protect…and next in line to be their dinner.
Prior to its release, the marketing team was really pushing how disturbing and violent The Green Inferno is. People faint at showings, clips and trailers are banned from social media, etc. Partnered with Eli Roth’s own claim that The Green Inferno was meant to be a throwback film to the cannibal exploitation films of the 70s, it’s hard not to get one’s expectations up. However, for horror fans even remotely versed in the likes of the genre with classics like Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, and their ilk, then you will probably come out disappointed. The Green Inferno is not nearly as controversial, disturbing, or gross as most of those films. For a modern mainstream audience the film is certain to get some reactions, but for those looking for a true throwback film then The Green Inferno is not it. It is most certainly an inspired love letter to the genre, but it’s done with a very obvious Roth spin on the material and it’s not going to be what some are expecting.
With that being said, I will fully admit that I had a fucking blast watching The Green Inferno. Eli Roth injects a remarkable amount of humor into the film which had me laughing through a majority of the run time (it also helps that he has a strange knack for making disturbing sequences so over the top that it’s hard not to laugh) and the film really piles on some of the ridiculous gore pieces in the latter half. For those looking for plenty of gore, the film certainly has it. Thanks to some top notch effects, a lot of the horror and disturbing elements are provided in full gory glory. To its benefit, The Green Inferno keeps a lot of the kills more diverse than just ‘being eaten’ so that allows things to be more interesting – even if some of them are obviously set up by elements in the first half and oddly forced into the plot. A death by killer ants, for example, doesn’t work nearly as well as one would hope in a film like this.
One of the bigger issues that arises in The Green Inferno though is it’s often over the top writing. The characters of the film, outside of our leading lady Lorenza Izzo, are painted in rather broad stroke ways and many of them seem to be more akin to caricatures than characters – a move that tends to undermine the potential horror later on. If anything, the way the characters are portrayed really only works once for a truly horrifying death sequence, the first one of their entrapment, which is an elongated one that had the audience cringing. The villainous head of the activist group, as an example, is such an asshole that at times it comes off as comical. The dialogue doesn’t tend to be any better. At this point though, this style of detail-less characters and extreme circumstances seems to be Eli Roth’s elements of writing. If it was anything else, then I would have been surprised. It doesn’t make for a great film, but it definitely makes for an entertaining one in the end.
|I love how you decorated your home.|
If you’re expecting The Green Inferno to be a pure throwback, then you probably won’t love the film. If you are skeptical of Eli Roth’s style of dark humor and intense gore, then it won’t change your mind. If you go into the film knowing that it is very much an Eli Roth film and one that piles on some strange moments with tons of gore then it’s hard not to be utterly entertained by its outrageousness. It’s hardly as great as some of the marketing made it out to be, but it’s still a blast to watch with the proper expectations. It still comes with a big bloody recommendation.
Written By Matt Reifschneider