In the horror community Eli Roth’s reputation seems to be split almost 50/50; Some absolutely love his work, while others despise everything he touches. I personally happen to think that he is a fantastic director with some amazingly shocking films. His newest film, The Green Inferno has been on hardcore horror fans radar for nearly two years. We all eagerly awaited its release last year, only to watch it get pulled from distribution. With its fate uncertain, many of us gave up hope. Some searched for bootlegs or purchased the overseas release. I knew a day would come that it’d finally see a theatrical release. While I’m a few weeks late to the party, as they say, “better late than never…”
Most gore fans know and hail the cannibal films of the 70’s as some of the goriest films to ever be released… and even banned. Roth is obviously a big fan of the shock value of these films and he aimed to bring us one for the ages. Antonio Quercia’s cinematography is one thing that really set the tone for me. Very early on, we are hit with some fast cutting, handheld frenetic camera work that makes you feel uneasy and lets you experience almost first hand what the characters are living — from taking in new surroundings as they arrive in the city, the plane crash, and finally the scene where they are overtaken by the natives.
When Justine (Lorenza Izzo, Aftershock, Knock Knock) discovers handsome activist Alejandro (Ariel Levy, Aftershock), she decides to aid him and his group of friends in a risky protest in the Amazon. After successfully putting a stop to the destruction of the rain forest and the tribe that lives within, the team board their small plane and begin to celebrate. A catastrophic engine failure causes them to crash-land right in the backyard of the lost tribe. Several are killed in the crash and others mortally wounded. The tribe descends on the accident and takes the survivors captive. It doesn’t take long for the true horror of the situation to be discovered. Several layers of each character are peeled back and exposed in juxtaposition with the cannibalism of the less fortunate. Lars (Daryl Sabara, Spy Kids, Machete) and Jonah (Aaron Burns, The Stranger) have incredibly wonderful roles with heart, humor and terror. Eli Roth’s sense of humor is never too far behind all of the horrific imagery that we are constantly forced to witness.
The social commentary is thick and in-your-face, but is also done with that humor and charm that Eli Roth brings to all of his films. The overall conclusion of the film is as in-your-face as all of the cannibalism. As far as the effects go, essentially nothing but the best from Ozzy Alvarez and Jonah Levy who work for the world-famous KNB EFX Group. The only two visual effects that didn’t work for me were the very poor matting in of the Black Jaguar and some very bad computer generated ants. I’m curious to see a completely unedited version of this film to see exactly what was cut to get into theaters. The Green Inferno is as unapologetic as every video nasty released in the heyday of Italian cannibal films.
I found it extremely impressive that he managed to give the tribe a wonderfully playful family dynamic, as well as making them imposing and terrifying. There are some truly fantastic scenes with the elder women of the tribe cooking human flesh and shooing away the younger children of the tribe, keeping them from picking off meat to snack on and just being children in general. The Green Inferno is a film with much more to it
than just gore — it has some impressive social commentary to go along with all of the bloodshed.
This one was well worth the wait. Here’s hoping for Back to the Inferno. I give this one 4 padlocks out of 5.