Country: USA / Chile
Director: Eli Roth
Starring: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz
No good deed goes unpunished
Justine is a college freshman, who becomes interested in the work of a local social activism group. Ignoring the warning of her friend, she joins the group on a trip to Peru where they plan to stop a company from destroying the forest.
When they plan to head home their plane crashes and they are stuck in the middle of the jungle. The group is quickly surrounded and taken captive by a group of savage meat loving cannibals. Unless they find a way to escape, they will all end up on the dinner plate, one by one…
So, Eli Roth is back with a new film. Well, not exactly new as The Green Inferno was supposed to be released back in 2013, but due to problems at the production company the release has been postponed until now, late 2015. Even though I have not been fond of any previous efforts of Roth, I am still hoping that he will knock it out of the park one day. He is a horror nerd, like us fans and nothing would make me happier than to be able to cheer for “one of our own”.
The project also sounded interesting to me. A sort of tribute, or modern take on the short lived and gruesome subgenre of the italian cannibals movies seem like the perfect film for me. I love that genre and considering that Roth’s earlier films have been very violent and his knowledge and obvious love for the subgenre, it seemed like a good match.
But sadly… The Green Inferno is a disappointment. You would expect Roth to give us a gritty, violent and nasty film, but instead this film feels like a Hollywood version of a cannibal film. It looks too bright and sharp with its digital look, failing to utilize the surroundings that they filmed this in. What made the 70’s films feel so real was the look of them and I would assume that Roth would try to bring the same type of atmosphere and feel to his film.
What surprises me was that it was lacking of shock and disturbing images. That’s not to say that there isn’t gore here, there sure is, but it’s done in an over the top way that feels more at home in an 80’s horror comedy than in a film like this. It is also very shy when it comes to nudity. Nudity isn’t necessarily important in movies, but it seemed weird that they steered away from it in some of the scenes were it looked more realistic to have nudity, regardless if it was shown explicit or not.
There are also some weird attempts at college frat boy humour, with stoner jokes and poop scenes. They just feel awkward and out of place here and I am not sure why they were even included. And the less said about the CGI ants, the better… The story is of course very basic and doesn’t have much to tell. I am also not sure what to think of the ending, but I do know that it did not work for me.
The characters are also very dull and are practically there just to be food for the savages. I do wish that they had done more to develop the main character Justine, played by Lorenza Izzo as she is very lifeless even if she is going through some very brutal stuff. There’s a leader of the cannibal tribe that has been featured on a lot of the promotional material, she looks so over the top and unrealistic that it isn’t even funny.
The Green Inferno is not a terrible film, but it is just lacking life. The film does not stay with you or leave a mark at all. It could work for viewers who are unfamiliar with the subgenre, but for those of us who are familiar with the Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox and Jungle Holocaust films of the past, this won’t have much to offer.