Friday, November 08, 2013

The Green Inferno (Review)

The Green Inferno
The Green Inferno (2013)
Directed by Ei Roth

"I wonder who the real cannibals are."

-Professor Harold Monroe

Its funny. Every now and then I'll check my stats and realize this post "Top 5 Cannibal Movies Of All Time" will get some traffic. It's an old post, the videos don't work anymore but it still resonates with people searching for the exploitation of old. The cannibal genre.

I've been itching to see The Green Inferno ever since I heard Eli Roth was making of it. I knew this genre was in good hands as Roth knows the people who made the genre what it is. He's well aware horror mavericks like myself will compare it to Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust and Uberto Lenzi's Cannibal Ferox. But he preambled the NYC premiere of The Green Inferno by saying that it was a different kind of cannibal film and that we need to put what we know of those films in a vault and take The Green Inferno as it is.

And what it is, it's an Eli Roth cannibal film. And it's fuckin awesome.

The Green Inferno is a buffet of modern day exploitation and wicked satire with a heaping spoonful of blood, guts and splatter.  This is probably the best movie Roth has ever made. His other films only touched on fleeting fears, but with The Green Inferno, his scathing critique of slacktivism is smart as it is millennial.  Generation Y is in the crosshairs and Roth scalps them cleanly by using every tool in his horror arsenal. It's a fun romp seeing good-doers face ultimate terror by the people they are there to protect. The cannibals are unleashed and make no apologies for who and why they are. It's fuckin brutal and fuckin glorious. What we have here jaded viewers is a perfect game within the horror exploitation trope. This is as good as it gets.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

A group of student activists travel from New York City to the Amazon to save a dying tribe but crash in the jungle and are taken hostage by the very natives they protected.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

If only our slacktivists had read this list, they'd probably be alive.

With The Green Inferno, we see the pillars of the horror and exploitation genre mixed in. Our final girl Justine (Lorenza Izzo) a student at Columbia University in NYC learns about the modern day horrors of the world she lives in and feels obligated to do something (see white guilt). Her roommate Kaycee (Sky Ferriera) is like the rest of us. Her 'tude: That shit isn't my problem. When she meets some hippie radicals led by Alejandro (Ariel Levy) she self motivates herself to join them to stop the evil corporations from bulldozing the native tribes homes in Peru.

The set up is of course designed to ridicule this new Twitter world of hashtag slacktivism. Conversations in the film echo how real world change is a process instead of a viral video. Ignoring this practical advice, the group has their sights on live streaming the horror from the Amazon with hashtags and shaky phone cams. Roth alluded to the KONY video and how a like and retweet are now the methods Millennials show they are smart, pseudo activists and PC.  Rarely does anybody get off their ass to do something real. Such is the world we live in and as these American kids see how the 3rd world lives it's full of full frontal irony.

These are bookends of The Green Inferno. Roth forces us to chug how we think the world should be with what it really is. But in between we get chock full of the wickedest slaughter I've ever seen on film.

The gore and splatter hit high marks all around in Inferno. You can thank Make Up Effects guru Greg Nicotero of The Walking Dead fame for some of that. The spectacular plane crash with stunning  "Oh Shit!" kills to the slice and dice meals for our natives are spectacularly done. Body parts are removed, ocular and mouth trauma will make gorehounds happy and yes, we get heads on poles.  Roth homages Deodato and Lenzi and if you have a keen eye (or have watched Cannibal Holocaust 1000x) you'll see them. It's cruel deaths in it's most undiluted form. It has spectacular bloody kills, even more than all the Hostel films put together.

Within this chaotic blood-o-rams are colorful cannibals that bring another dimension to the savages. They are not evil per say, but more so uncivilized which probably is more frightening to the city dwellers. Led by a queen and an enforcer, the cannibals are happy to be munching on what they perceive as the real savages. Their meals are our worst fear and though we should detest their actions, it's more of a WTF, it's who they are type attitude. The funny part of all of this is that Roth and his crew used real natives who had never seen a real film before and were even amazed by ice cubes. Lots of indie DIY filmmaking too. The realness shows here, on the faces of the tribe playing a fictional secluded tribe and more so in the children who mock and are intrigued by our gringos. Roth puts in his own touch on real animals doing real shhit but not as fucked up as Deoadato's real life cruelty.

So you'd think a movie with sharp critiques and splatter would be a straightforward horror film. But with Roth, the gags, funnies and humor all seem to find a balance in Inferno. You'll see it play out between the students, the cannibals and in the fact that somebody is getting chopped up and fuckin eaten. In this most absurd premise, Roth makes the hashtag #cannibalsgetthemunchies take on a whole new different meaning.

The performance by Lorenza Izzo is solid. You feel obligated to root for her as compared to the other hotties, they play out as stereotypical panic girls. Levy's Alejandro is tall, dark and ambitiously mysterious. Comic relief comes in the form of Jonah (Aaron Burns), some stoners and a bearded hipster.

I will say a lot of people will be surprised by Eli Roth's latest flick (it's been 6 years since he directed Hostel II). It's as good as a Quentin Tarantino exploitation homage but without the long winded conversations and alternate histories. What The Green Inferno seems to show is that the cannibal film defies any decade when done in a way that is clever, insightful and has the most gut wrenching scenes of civilization gone awry. It's a genre being introduced to the generation that should be ashamed they don't know shit about what happens in the real world, but see it filtered through tweets and posts and goddamn Instagram coloring.

Who are the real cannibals?

Probably the current generation that consumes that shit, shits that shit and enjoys it all.



Surprisingly none


Heaping mountains of it. It's all glorious. GLORIOUS!!!!

WTF moment 

Ants. Nuff said.

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

The Green Inferno will be in theaters next year. It's MUST SEE. It will probably be one of my best movies of 2014 list for sure (going to rank this when the flick gets a wide release). Oh lovely cannibals, how I love this fuckin genre.