The Green Inferno, 2013.
Written and Directed by Eli Roth.
Starring Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz, Ignacia Allamand, Daryl Sabara, Nicolas Martinez, Sky Ferreira, Eusebio Arenas, Richard Burgi and Matias Lopez.
A group of student activists travel from New York City to the Amazon to save the rainforest. However, once they arrive in this vast green landscape, they soon discover that they are not alone – and that no good deed goes unpunished.
For a guy who hangs around Quentin Tarantino a lot, Eli Roth hasn’t really been able to incorporate stomach churning graphic violence into an exercise that fits the style and tone of his movie rather than just coming across gratuitous. Tarantino’s films aren’t revered because they’re violent, they are revered because that violence serves a purpose, which is something I’m not sure Eli Roth understood until now..
The Green Inferno follows a group of college activists essentially looking to save an Amazon rainforest from being bulldozed into nothingness, and because people love political correctness and venturing into endeavors they don’t realize they aren’t mentally or physically equipped to deal with, these do-gooders often have no idea what they are up against. In this case, it’s a bunch of cannibals.
For the first 20 minutes, Roth likes to establish some character motivations for the protest, alongside some ulterior motives from the group’s leader, but unfortunately much of this feels superfluous to the story, leaving audiences waiting for the students to finally come into contact with our socially maladjusted local tribe natives. It’s not that the opening is boring per se, but it is a little drawn out delving into narrative choices that really don’t matter aside from Justine’s best friend, who is extremely critical of the decision to help and will highly offend social justice warriors, but hey, she’s right, and isn’t one being sought out to be eaten for the remaining 75 minutes.
Once shit hits the fan though, The Green Inferno is relentlessly disturbing and is probably secretly hoping you hurl up all that butter-soaked popcorn and cheese-drenched nachos. I don’t care if you’re reading this and already at the conclusion that this review is an over-exaggeration and that your stomach can handle it, because you probably can, but that does not change the fact that the gore on display here is unsettling to the point where a majority of viewers will simply have to leave. People aren’t eaten off-screen; that’s a directorial decision for pussies. Eli Roth wants to show you every severed limb and body part hacked off while the natives feast their teeth into flesh.
It’s extremely gross but not what makes The Green Inferno an unexpected treasured gem of horror. That belongs to the demented dark humor and small doses of social commentary peppered throughout the experience. Most notably is one of the most flat-out ridiculous scenes I’ve ever witnessed; two activist members caged up and seeking to find release from stress amidst the terror. This is accomplished with one character masturbating, while another begins choking him by the throat as a testament of outrage for jerking off publicly under extreme distress.
While most of the activists are playfully being poked at, Justine (played by Eli Roth’s real-life wife Lorenza Izzo) is along for the journey not entirely aware of the cause. She’s essentially reeled in by a heavier man with a goofy personality that may be romantically interested in her. His intentions mean well alongside being a source for some golden comedic moments, and compared to everyone else you want to see him and Justine escape. It should also be noted that Lorenza Izzo is fantastic in her role, selling all of the dread and danger excellently.
The Green Inferno feels like an extended middle finger to everyone begging for political correctness and activism regarding saving nature. That isn’t to be confused with saying anyone that cares will be set on a collision course with cannibals, but that maybe instead of crying and whining people should research what they themselves are interested in, rather than demanding the entire world come together for their cause. Of course, most of this ends up lost in translation thanks to people being eaten left and right, but the message stands.
Black comedy and shockingly disturbing violence come together with some underlying political subtext to make The Green Inferno Eli Roth’s most accomplished film to date. He’s maturing as a filmmaker and clearly learning a lot from Quentin Tarantino. Truthfully, I won’t be surprised if in two weeks you read me praising his next effort titled Knock Knock, a violent thriller centered on adultery starring Keanu Reeves and also again, his wife Lorenza Izzo.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook