(Finished 2013, Released Sept 25th 2015)
Directed by Eli Roth
Written by Eli Roth & Guillermo Amoedo
4.5 Bloody Eyes Wide out of 5!
4 Bloody Eyes Wide out of 5!
Welcome Horror fans! Cult and Feind went to Eli Roth's controversial take on the Cannibal Genre for our very first Scribblers at the Movies! So did The Scribblers survive…
The Green Inferno
(Finished 2013, Released Sept 25th 2015)
Directed by Eli Roth
Written by Eli Roth & Guillermo Amoedo
At last after a brief (it's been more than two years since TGI was completed and “in the can”) period of wondering, waiting, if it would ever be possible the American audience would finally be able to (is allowed to) watch the newest film under the directorial tutelage of Mr Roth. Surprisingly, this is Eli's first placing in the director’s chair since Hostel II (2007) after bursting into the horror limelight with Hostel (2005) that arguably coined the phrase 'torture porn' although a multitude of other features have his name to their credit (Aftershock among others). I enjoyed Hostel immensely as I also enjoyed Cabin Fever (I might well be in the minority here but I actually appreciated both sequels also) and have eagerly awaited another feature that might show the director's fresh, unique talents as witnessed in the aforementioned. Having previously heard rumblings, many moons ago, on social media that Eli was set to tackle a project with Amazon leanings I became very excited as I had also heard of his adoration of Ruggero Deodato’s (IMO epic masterpiece) Cannibal Holocaust amazingly now close to being forgotten thirty five years after its release causing quite a fervent stir amongst animal activists and many a country's censorship/rating organizations. So how did Eli tackle a genre that many avoid like the proverbial plague you might ask? Surprisingly, well I'll reply without missing a beat.
The Green Inferno is a grandiose feast for the eyes. It's vivid, crisp in tone, sports vibrant colors and a production quality unlike the many past efforts most of which worth mentioning made now upwards of thirty years ago. The film opens by showing the grand and gorgeous scope of the Amazon, the actual filming location of Deodata's opus, a land mostly untouched by the advance of industry that is until very recently. As in most of Eli Roth’s previous efforts the main cast consists of a small group of college attendees, in this case however they aren't partying carefree souls so much as they have an important cause to support and fight for (doesn't everyone?). The group consists of a handful of diehard libertarians and a few interested types unsure of their individual goals and where their life's path may eventually take them. A passionate local crowd organizer type, Alejandro (Ariel Levy), leads the group deep into Peru (TGI was actually filmed in Santiago, Chili btw) where a large company is seemingly intent on destruction of the rain forest and massacring the indigenous natives in order to get to the gas rich deposits beneath. Can you see where this is leading?
Apparently the group have an idea and hope to garner global awareness through streaming live feeds as they sabotage an active work site, by hacking into a satellite broadcast to stream live on social media. Fear, indecision and various assorted other emotions run riot throughout the group (quite understandably) leading up to a standoff that takes place between themselves and the local militia group protecting the advance of the workmen, bulldozers and the huge conglomerate responsible. Up to this point in the movie the natives and the injustices perpetrated upon them by unethical corporations are the main focus of the small group, this soon changes rapidly, however, as the aircraft they are put on as a one way trip home blows an engine as the group celebrates “victory” and starts to plummet into the jungle. As luck, perhaps cosmic fate, would have it the group land (crash would be a better fitting word) close to where their meticulously planned act of espionage had taken place. Shaken (and stirred though quite unlike a Bond martini) they stir from a dazed state to peer directly into the faces of the natives they originally had hoped to support. This point is where the movie takes off and the group's many preconceived notions are crushed underfoot.
With hopes to not drop spoilers like a couple of hungry youths, dropping crumbs, lost in the forest I'll try to be as vague as possible whilst still mentioning scenes, particular moments and the particular vibe I deem important in relation to the overall review of the feature as a whole. First off, much like other films in this genre (to mention another Umberto Lenzi's Cannibal Ferox aka Make Them Die Slowly) the practical effects are plentiful, although unlike many features in the genre these same effects are 'in your face', visually stunning (thanx to the awesome wizard-like SFX talents of Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero of The Walking Dead fame) and brutally unapologetic in their nature. The film's producers obviously deemed it necessary and I agree with them that what makes these many scenes of evisceration, dismemberment and gouging even more potent are the native's reactions as they take place. In direct juxtaposition to that of their captives they take it in their stride as if it's as ordinary everyday event like bathing or preparing supper (eek-! that was a terrible pun!). One must wonder if the natives considered their 'visitors' as 'The other white meat' (couldn't resist) which is in no way a racial slur as I'm of the opinion that the tastiest and most succulent individual (in the group) was the first to be consumed after being prepared with the utmost consideration and care. Of course the many scenes of violence arguably could have been toned down a few notches with perhaps the same effect but it's doubtful that the film IMO would have still maintained its undeniable emotional power, scenes that you want to look away from but are somehow unable to tear yourself away.
The feeling of helplessness is captured very well as the audience witnesses the film's heroes (? They are neither antagonists nor protagonists as their 'visit' could be deemed as a possible act of invasion in looking at the onward advance of the machines controlled by the same “civilized” people) lose hope quickly, giving into acts of despair. They neither know what's about to happen nor are they able to fathom what might as they are ignorant of both the dialect and the many native customs. An interesting aspect from the film, for me, was witnessing the indigenous people peering through the bars at the fascinating captives, much like animals in a zoo, it must make sense that we seem especially strange to them too right?
The film's many characters play off themselves very well. Justine (played convincingly by Lorenza Izzo) invites a fair share of attention from Jonah (Aaron Burns) who incidentally drew her into the group perhaps hoping for 'something' more. As the feeling within the film transforms from camaraderie to shock, suspicion and disbelief the tension becomes unbearable as the audience can easily start to detect traits and flaws in each character, some more blindingly obvious than others. The natives are sincere enough to appear genuine, especially the hierarchy structure, the levels of respect shown to members of lofty standing and the duties performed by everyone within the community. The main head hunter in fact strangely reminded me of Sid Haig. An appreciated amount of research went into the 'reality' aspect of The Green Inferno and I personally appreciate it as the essence of a tribe unscathed by the all-consuming advance and onslaught of modern technology is captured beautifully. Overall the film sports a fantastic cast, the group of youths hell bent on making a difference, and their names known, are exuberant, excitable but altogether naïve heading into a new and altogether strange land a great touch to heighten the believability factor of this feature. Much like watching Cannibal Holocaust one can't watch this without pondering upon who the real savage is. Perhaps the natives for behaving in such a way? Naturally, it's an ancient culture including traditions and rituals aeons old, parts of which are truly abhorrent to us as we don't understand their many customs in relation to our own. Or is it the giant corporations and individuals guilty of espionage, keeping the convoluted capitalist wheel spinning including massacre on a huge scale all in the name of greed and the eternal worship of the Green God.
For all of its vivid scenes of cannibalistic terror, hysterical antics and dinner time shenanigans The Green Inferno isn't short on the odd moment of humor to ease the tension though it has an underlying and unmistakable message which overrides everything else. This message: one should not meddle in other’s affairs especially if one has no understanding of the people in question just as the tag line to the movie reads... No Good Deed Shall Go Unpunished. An outstanding feature arguably as powerful in tone as Deodata's controversial epic that will no doubt be talked about for years to come.I only have one minor qualm though personally I would've enjoyed the merest hint of the soundtrack from the aforementioned within the film (it could be argued that the tiniest homage was displayed within the opening to Hobo With a Shotgun) perhaps I'm merely a selfish fanboy... all indications resoundingly point to yes! Regardless a monstrous bravo goes out to Mr Roth and the film's crew, I'm still a huge fan of his work and this was well worth the wait. The Green Inferno is…
THE SHIT - A Must See!
But wait there's more from Feind...
Well Cult gave you a pretty good rundown for what The Green Inferno was all about so it looks like I just get to have a little fun here adding my two cents to the mix. Cult and I do have slightly different taste but we’re not that far apart on this or most others usually. I do want to mention this has been one of my most anticipated films since I first heard about it a couple of years ago while Eli Roth & crew were still filming it. The film was all set to come out I believe in 2014 but at the last minute the original distributor for the film pulled out leaving Roth with a finished film just sitting on the shelf with no way to get it out to the masses. Finally Blumhouse Productions, who have become the premiere studio for (mainstream) horror films, closed the deal with Roth to finally get this film out for fans to see. That’s a long time to wait for a film with gigantic potential. So did it live up to the hype and the wait for Feind?
The answer is a not so simple yes. This is a horror film for the masses not as much for diehard jaded gorehounds. I don’t say that as a bad thing really, this is a great film for young fans to get a few shots of full on gore to either turn them off horror or put them on the path to become, like The Scribblers, a lifelong lover of blood and gore. That kind of thing is either in you or it’s not. I didn’t find The Green Inferno lived up to the gore hype, which is perfectly fine, since there really is only one scene of an all out gorefest which again makes it perfect for that young person who maybe hasn’t seen anything like that yet. For me personally I think Roth could have gone a little more “balls out” since this is afterall his homage to films like Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox which blow The Green Inferno away from a gore standpoint. I can understand that Roth was going for more mass appeal I just found myself wanting a little more nastiness after all the hype. I know it may seem otherwise but this is a minor complaint. Now since I’m more interested in a good story how was that part of the film?
This is where I have a slightly larger complaint but it’s still minor. Maybe not everyone gets annoyed by it but it’s a little bit of pet peeve of mine… too much foreshadowing! I know the general public isn’t that bright but I don’t agree with dumbing things down so people can “get it”, I much prefer going the other direction encouraging people to get smarter but that’s just me bitchin’. Early on in the film we see our “star” Justine in a college lecture learning about the horrors of FGM, female genital mutilation, which is a practice in many South American, Middle Eastern and African countries where usually at a very young age girls have their clitoris removed. Guess what is the biggest fear of our female captives when they find themselves in the clutches of a cannibalistic tribe in South America? Don’t think too hard, you’ll hurt yourself. There are several other little things like this that I don’t know if other people pick up on or if it’s just me but it is a pet peeve of mine so I can’t help it. Again this is a pretty minor complaint.
So those two minor complaints aside there is much to love about The Green Inferno. There are a few plot twists and turns throughout (most of which you’ll see coming if you’re paying attention) and a final one to leave this open for a sequel which may or may not come. A quick check of the weekend box office shows me The Green Inferno came in at #9 for the weekend taking in $3.5 million on a budget of $6 million, I’d guess the film needs to get to $10-12 million to garner a sequel. Honestly, I’m not really interested in a sequel, I thought this was a good stand alone horror film that should have wider appeal if not for being hyped as an all out gorefest when it really isn’t. For those of you wondering there are some awesome deaths in The Green Inferno that are inventive and a lot of fun for us jaded horror fans but there is really only one scene I would say is an all out gorefest. You may recognize a couple of familiar horror faces in Justine’s father Charles played by Richard Burgi who Roth fans will recognize from Hostel II (he gets to keep his junk this time!) and then there’s Daryl Sabara playing the stoner student Lars who people my son’s age might recognize from Spy Kids but horror fans should recognize as the bully who a young Michael Myers beats to death with a stick in Rob Zombie’s Halloween. The acting all around is pretty damn good, I especially liked Lorenza Izzo as Justine and Nicolas Martinez as Daniel who Roth fans may recognize from Aftershock as well. Overall The Green Inferno was an excellent horror film and I actually recommend seeing it in the theater for the majestic shots of the rain forest which show you all the vivid green. Honestly, just wow! I’d say this is a perfect film for a budding gorehound and there’s just enough to keep us old geezers from bitching too loudly. Everything is well done and if you’ve liked what Eli Roth has done in the past you won’t be disappointed here. I may not be as enthusiastic as my Scribblin partner but only slightly. The Green Inferno is definitely THE SHIT!! The Scribblers definitely had a good time at this one and we’ll definitely be doing this again!
Cult gives The Green Inferno
4.5 Bloody Eyes Wide out of 5!
Feind scores The Green Inferno a solid
4 Bloody Eyes Wide out of 5!
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Feind loves watching movies of all kinds so if we watch it, we tell whether you should as well. I'll share mostly horror but I also enjoy everything from big Blockbusters to micro-budget Independent films.
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