Director Eli Roth’s horror film The Green Inferno works up a mean appetite. After a lengthy delay in distribution, The Green Inferno finally hits the big screen. For horror film fans who eat up all things gross and gory, The Green Inferno will momentarily satisfy, but will leave you hankering for more.
On the menu is Lorenza Izzo as Justine, an idealistic college freshman who has strong beliefs about the many social injustices around the world but doesn’t have a way to act upon them until she’s invited into a student activist group. The not so brilliant plan of these activists is to save an untouched section of the Amazon rainforest, armed with nothing but satellite connected cell phone cameras which stream online to raise awareness and to dissuade the militia from gunning them down in front of the world.
Eli Roth serves up a mixed pot of bloody thrills, stomach churning hack ‘n slash and even some wacky moments. The activists get dispatched in a variety of ways, but there’s only about one nasty death sequence that’s truly worthy of turning your eyes away from the screen. There’s an ebb and flow to the tension, providing welcome moments to catch a breath before Roth decides to turn the heat up again to a simmering boil in horrific fashion.
As amusing as the wacky turn of events can be they also stretch beyond belief. Since The Green Inferno derives a lot of its tension from being set in an isolated, terrifying jungle, these ‘only can happen in a movie’ moments can pull the audience out of the viewing experience.
More believable is actress Lorenza Izzo, Roth’s wife. She makes for a solid scream queen, capturing both the innocence of a young female protagonist thrown into the lion’s den and a stern resolve after a quick baptism by fire. The belief that Justine could waltz into a foreign country and chain herself to a bulldozer could possibly enact real change is more than a little naive, but everything after the initial set up she doesn’t do anything stupid. Justine is a likable character you can root for although the script falls short of giving her a true empowering moment.
The Green Inferno’s social commentary provides more of a context for the story than an astute assessment. Sure, in this social media age it’s easy enough for people to spread the word on societal issues with a simple retweet or sign on-line petitions. But to get people to take their convictions from behind the keyboard into real life action is another matter which The Green Inferno touches upon.
For essentially a B horror movie which would have been a straight-to-home video release if it wasn’t for this new distribution model, The Green Inferno doesn’t look like its super low budget. The CGI and specials effects are serviceable enough. It also adds to the production value that The Green Inferno is actually filmed in a deep, remote part of the Amazon with a real primitive tribe.
The Green Inferno is a cannibal film which delivers pretty much what you’d expect. After a slow-paced first act, there’s a feast of blood splatter and body parts. Unfortunately, it’s misses the mark on a strong ending and doesn’t provide the just deserts which was set up through out the movie. Further, the silly bits are too much to take seriously but at least the film is self-aware about these moments. Compared to 2012’s Aftershock, which Eli Roth co-wrote and starred, The Green Inferno is a decent main course but isn’t nearly as satisfying or memorable as 2005’s Hostel.