The Green Inferno Review
What a year its been for Eli Roth.
Last week, I wrote a review for Eli Roth's "Knock Knock" a movie I enjoyed more than I thought. There is dark sense of humor laced in Roth's horror movies, hard earned laughs with a rough edge, which makes his work so absorbing at times. Before "Knock Knock" I didn't think much of Roth's work as a whole. I liked his producing credits more than his actual movies, and thought as a director he was vastly overrated.
It took two years for Roth to finally release "The Green Inferno," and after seeing the finished product, I can understand why. "The Green Inferno" is a test on all your senses, its a test on how long you can watch a screen without cringing and its a test on how well you can hold your bile. This is the movie I thought "Hostel" would be, but what I think I never got. I was wildly excited when I heard the positive word-of-mouth, and trailers for "Hostel" in 2009. When I finally saw the movie, I was pretty letdown. I didn't find any of it scary, and the torture scenes were the biggest disappointment of that year, possibly that decade. When I heard Eli Roth was going to make "The Green Inferno" and that it was going to be a cannibalism film, I was pretty hesitant to buy into it. If Eli Roth couldn't go all the way with his torture movie, how could he ever tackle cannibalism? Well, I think people will be in for a treat, if they haven't laid eyes on this already.
Justine (Lorenza Izzo), is a college freshman who goes on a retreat in the remote Amazon jungles to protest against a big logging company. She is accompanied by Alejandro (Ariel Levy), Lars (Daryl Sabara, Daniel (Nicolas Martinez), Jonah (Aaron Burns), Samantha (Magda Apanowicz) and Kara (Ignacia Allamand). After their protest is a success, their plane crashes in a freak accident, the group is completely cut off from technology and civilization. Well, maybe not civilization, as an indigenous tribe of Amazonian find the group. The people who died on the actual plane were the lucky ones, as the group soon finds out that this tribe is a tribe of cannibals.
Look, I read stories that somebody fainted in the middle of "The Green Inferno" so I was a little nervous about what I was about to see, and I liked what I saw. The killing and eating scenes in this movie are much more intense and much more cringe-worthy than any scene in "Hostel," and that is a great thing. It shows really maturity and upgraded talent by Roth. While I wouldn't say I lost my lunch watching the movie, they were still amazingly effective. In fact, I wish they were worse. I have a pretty good idea to why they weren't worse. After "Cannibal Holocaust" in 1980, I am sure there is only so much a cannibal movie can show nowadays, but there was still a cartoonish quality to the killings which I wished Roth went more realistic.
I am absolutely taken aback by Lorenza Izzo. She was also in "Knock Knock," and she played a completely different character than she does here. She can do both character types well. In "The Green Inferno" she is a survivor, but not in a corny, cliche way, but in a believable way. Her character is really put through the ringer here. There is a particular scene that had me gasping for air, and she made us feel her pain. Izzo is bright young talent, and I can't wait to see what she does next. Lots of the cast appeared in a thriller called "Aftershock," directed by Nicolas Lopez, who is credited with a producer in this movie. "Aftershock" also starred Eli Roth himself, so its clear him and Lopez are close. I kind of liked "Aftershock" but I didn't feel the laughs were earned in that movie, and at points it felt like two different movies. Much like "Knock Knock" there is a humorous silver lining in "The Green Inferno." But I think Roth is much more successful with his laughs than Lopez was. First of all, there are not too many funny parts in "The Green Inferno." Second of all, when it is time to laugh, they are hard earned, you almost feel bad for laughing given the circumstances of the characters.
I liked the dark sense of humor in this movie. I liked that it wasn't the cannibalistic tribe the survivors had to worry about, but hazardous water streams, giant ants and other rain forest dangers lurked around every corner. I especially thought it was clever that during the end credits the Twitter handles of each actor is attached to the character they play. This allows the audience to rave about the movie to the actual cast and crew who made it. There is also a set up for a sequel so juicy, you'll be instantly excited after leaving the theater. While it took two years to finally get released, I think overall, "The Green Inferno" was worth the wait. Its a nasty good time, even if its not a completely vomit-inducing affair I was led to believe it was. I think Roth is getting stronger and stronger each time he steps behind camera. If he keeps this up, he will surely get the big name in horror that he has always wanted.
FINAL GRADE: B