Director: Eli Roth
Writers: Guillermo Amoedo and Eli Roth
Cast: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowitz, Ignacia Allamand
Year: 2013 (released 2015)
Justine (Lorenza Izzo) a beautiful college freshman becomes interested in human rights, and joins a social activism group led by Alejandro (Ariel Levy). That she thinks he's good looking also weighs in on her decision to join them. She ultimately accompanies them on their trip to the Amazon rain-forest to stop a company from bulldozing down the trees and taking the land from natives. It doesn't take her, and eventually the rest of the group, long to figure out that Alejandro is all bullshit and a douchebag. But, things also turn much worse as their plane crashes as it tries to leave the rain-forest. The survivors are soon taken prisoner by a very hungry, deadly, and savage cannibal tribe.
Though made two years ago, Eli Roth's bloody and loving tribute to Ruggero Deodato's brutal and controversial classick Cannibal Holocaust (loyal horror fans in the know will note that this movie's title is that of the film with a film, found footage flick title of that movie) is finally being released via the folks at Blumhouse. This movie is very different from that company's usual teen horror, though, and though flawed ranks as one of the year's very best horror films.
Those who hate Eli Roth's style of film making won't be won over with this one. It does feature his usual college level humor, which plays oddly against the more serious aspects of the movie. In the beginning the humor works quite well. The stuff between Justine and her pretty friend, Kaycee (Sky Ferreira) works best because it feels real and natural. There is an interesting and, almost, complete tonal shift, once the tribe takes them. The camera, formally shooting in a typical manner and style, suddenly turns jarring and disorienting. It works excellently and this coming from someone who hates it when the camera moves this way. It adds a sense of neo-reality, urgency, and ups the tension to the proceedings. Strangely, Roth decides to add more infantile humor at this point, to break up the tension in the film. This bears varying degrees of success. The pooping scene makes sense to a certain degree of, "well that would happen in real life", but is slightly marred by silly and gross sounds and character reactions. Other moments play out better, still others just leave you saying "what the fuck was Roth thinking?!"
Complementing the realism of the film is the actual real setting and the use of real Peruvian tribes people as the cannibals. I also like that film, like many of the its' Italian counterparts starts off in New York City. It has deeper messages in the form bullshit artists who wish to make a name for themselves exploiting a cause and the deforestation of the Amazons adds a level of profundity beyond it's exploitative nature (not unlike the dichotomy of Deodato's aforementioned classic). One aspect of the film that I did like more than the Italian stuff is that there is no real violence against animals here. In fact, there is an undercurrent of love for animals best summed up by the black leopard shown in the film. In an opposite vein, I which he would've taken the influence of having a better score. I mean this one here ain't bad, but it is generic. Unlike the beautiful score for Cannibal Holocaust.
The acting is quite good, though. The supporting cast is strong, in particular Levy who just so good at being a despicable asshole in this film. But, it really is Izzo's showcase here. She is the heart of the film, and we are firmly on her side throughout the movie, thank God. I don't think this movie would've worked quite as well, if we weren't. She is excellent and is rapidly making a name for herself in the horror genre. She also happens to be stunningly beautiful. Those eyes! Good God, I maybe in love!
The movie doesn't feature anywhere near the amount of nudity it's Italian counterparts do. Those hoping that such beautiful women as Kirby Bliss Blanton or Magda Apanowicz will bear their flesh will be disappointed. Even the natives don't show naughty bits. But, there is one case of male frontal nudity, and the gorgeous Izzo gets nude as well. Izzo's scene is actually pretty tense and comes closest to matching the sexual violence that some of the nastier Italian films love to showcase. Speaking of nasty KNB's gore is phenomenal. This is the bloodiest studio horror film since the Evil Dead remake. As such, it features dismemberment, implaing, and more, including some wonderfully graphic cannibalism.
In all, I really enjoyed The Green Inferno. It is well worth the wait and is a great mix of fun, intensity, and shock. A sometimes nasty and wonderfully gruesome film, it does have some uneven bits, including an ending that feels tacked on to get us ready for the green lit sequel. But, I still highly recommend it. Not to Roth's haters, but to those who know what to expect from his work and want a bloody ride back to cannibal country. And, let's be honest as people haven't made this kind of movie in ages, it's a long overdue trip for many of us. Thank the gore-gods it's as good as it is here.
**** out of ****