THE GREEN INFERNO Proves To Be Eli Roth’s Most Shocking Film To Date – Movie Review
I’ve been looking forward to Eli Roth‘s The Green Inferno for quite some time. The hype surrounding the film was palpable and I’d heard only gruesome and exciting things, which is what to be expected from Eli himself. I remember last summer, I started counting down to the films highly anticipated September 5th release, only when September came, about a week or two before its release, the film was pulled. I was devastated. I hadn’t been that excited for a horror film since The Strangers, so to see that it wouldn’t be released and also to hear that it may never get released, due to some legal stuff, was a blow to the gut. But thankfully, throughout this past year, fans have been voicing their thoughts and feelings about this film and the people behind the lawsuit actually listened. Fast forward a little bit more and The Green Inferno is officially getting released, September 15th, 2015.
I was super lucky and attended a private screening of the film this past weekend while at Wizard World Chicago. Wizard World Chicago was also hosting Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival, which played a slew of horror films the entire weekend with The Green Inferno being the ending to a terrific run of films. Not only did I get to see the movie, but I attended a panel about the film beforehand where we saw an exclusive clip. It was intense and made me so excited and fearful for what was about to come. Soon after, Eli Roth himself and Lorenza Izzo, who plays Justine in the film, introduced the film that night and gave us a little insight as to what we were about to witness. Being one of the first few who got to witness this film in in its final form was quite the treat and suffice to say, The Green Inferno feels like Hostel… but 3 times worse.
This review will be spoiler free!
New York college student Justine (Lorenza Izzo), a lawyer’s daughter, meets a student activist named Alejandro (Ariel Levy) when he goes on a hunger strike on behalf of underpaid janitors. Smitten, Justine agrees to help Alejandro undertake his next project: to save the Amazon. She soon learns to regret her decision when their plane crashes in the Peruvian jungle and she and the rest of their group are taken captive by a tribe of hungry cannibals.
As many know, this film is dedicated to Rugerro Deodato, director of one of the most controversial films to date, Cannibal Holocaust. In fact, the name ‘The Green Inferno‘ derives from one of the opening lines in the original film and while The Green Inferno never tries to rip off Cannibal Holocaust, it instead has its nods, like its the opening scene with the camera panning over the Amazon. It screams nostalgia and reminds you of how terrifying the Amazon can look from afar giving viewers a sense of helplessness.
Soon we are introduced to the characters we’ll come to love and hate. From the opening, the story follows the main character Justine who wants to do nothing but help. She doesn’t really know how to do it, as she’s just a freshman in college, but soon finds herself apart of a local activist group planning a trip to help a native tribe in the Amazon whose homeland is being destroyed. From the beginning we’re told of the risks of such a trip, but she’s set on helping and does what she feels is right. I’ll skip some of the details that lead us to the main feast, but I will say we get quite a bit of foreshadowing, specifically in a classroom based scene that made me fear (and cringe) for what was to come. But moving on…
Like the tagline says, “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” and that is exactly what happens. This group of college aged activists, who thought they were doing good and helping the world, soon find themselves in a situation they could never see coming. Soon this native tribe has captured the group with plans that none of them could even imagine. This scene that plays from their initial capture to when they’re put into the cage is was one of the most uncomfortable and well acted scenes I’ve watched in a long time. The terror on the actors faces look so real that I felt horrible watching the following scenes play out. It brought out a bit of anxiety in me. You get the sense that they are stuck in the middle of nowhere and that they are now captured by a tribe who they know nothing about.
First off, I won’t go into ANY details about all the death scenes included in this film, only because the marketing for this film is brilliant. If you’ve noticed, none of the trailers have any “violence” in them, which makes the deaths scenes in this film that much more powerful. If you’ve been awaiting this film, then you already know what exactly this film is about and what subgenre is fits into. Trust me, if you think it’ll be cringe worthy, it does just that but times 10. But if you do think this film tries to encapsulate the dark and awful feeling that Cannibal Holocaust left us, don’t worry because The Green Inferno manages to infuse humor throughout all while maintaining the horror at hand.
I will say that this film made me super uncomfortable in some scenes, just like Eli’s Hostel films made me feel upon their release. It’s not an easy thing to do to me, but this film did exactly that. And while it did have its flaws (mainly the acting in a couple of scenes toward the beginning), I thought it was a pretty fun horror flick that did what it set out to do.