Cinematic Releases: The Green Inferno

Eli Roth serves up a platter of warm human meat with The Green Inferno. But is it tasty enough to satiate our thirst for blood?

"Shopping at Wal-Mart again?
Please, god no."
So, here's the deal with Eli Roth movies. The dude can direct some spectacular horror scenes—stuff that will curl your nose hairs. However, he has a real problem with directing convincing first acts. Both Cabin Fever and Hostel both suffer from weak beginnings that transition into balls-to-the-wall gore. While horror films are not known for their elaborate plots, there are some that manage to do both story and terror equally well. Be that as it may, character arcs and writing are just not Roth’s strong suit. But what he is great at is giving the gore hounds what they really want--blood and/or guts.

That brings us to his newest attempt to gross out moviegoers: The Green Inferno. This film is definitely meant to be a love letter of sorts to the short-lived cannibal film craze of the early eighties. Films such as Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox shocked audiences everywhere with their mix of hardcore violence (some of it with real animals, unfortunately), rape and bloody carnage.  That time is long gone though and even the most hardcore of modern horror films still pull their punches when it really comes down to the nitty-gritty. The Green Inferno is not as shocking as the films it tries to reproduce, but it comes damn close and is one of the most brutal mainstream horror films I have seen in years.

The Green Inferno follows a similar plot to the original films, with young, mostly white college students getting stuck out in the Amazon after a series of unfortunate events. The acting is terrible for the most part, almost to the point of being distracting. There is really no motivation for why the characters make the decisions that they do, other than it places them in perilous situations and gets them killed. Which honestly, is par for the course in these types of films and completely expected. We don’t give a crap about these people, we just want to see them get eaten by cannibals. The film does get off to an excruciatingly sluggish start, but once it gets going the heads really start to roll.

"I have come for your tissues!"
It’s almost as if this is two separate films stitched together because the first act has a low-budget direct-to-video digital look, but once the slaughter kicks in it has a shaky-cam documentary style. The brutal middle portion of the film is worth the price of admission. This is where the potential of the movie rears its head for a short while and it can be equated to taking a sledgehammer to the face—it’s that gruesome. Seriously, any fans of gory films need to watch this movie just to witness the glorious bloodshed and mayhem. My mouth was open the entire time and I couldn’t stop nervously laughing.
It’s unfortunate that the entire film isn’t this intense—this awesome, creamy center is surrounded by lame acting and a ridiculous story. Roth could have really knocked some socks off and brought back good, old-fashioned horror. It’s like going to a buffet where all the food sucks except the desserts. Yeah, you can get full by just eating cake, but what you really crave is the meat. Overall, this film is a wasted opportunity but still worth a look by horror movie fans.


-Michelle Kisner

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