Can’t change the world, unless we change each other. And stay away from cannibals, too.
Young, impressionable Justine (Lorenza Izzo) is currently a freshman at some fancy college in New York City. She enjoys the life she has, but at the same time, still feels like she could be doing a little something more. That’s why when she meets a group of environmentalists who are traveling out to the Amazon to help save the trees there, she decides to go and join them, despite her father’s, as well as her best friend’s trepidations. And while the trip looks to be going perfectly and successful for the group, suddenly, they’re plan goes all haywire in the sky, leaving them to crash-land somewhere in the deepest, darkest and under-seen parts of the jungle. Which definitely spells out trouble for the group when they encounter a bunch of cannibals who want nothing more than to dismember them, fry them up, and have them for lunch, dinner, breakfast, and possibly a midnight snack. Though every member of the crew is in danger of losing their lives, it’s Justine who somehow catches the eye of the cannibals’ leader and who they prep-up for possibly even more sinister tasks.
To be honest, Eli Roth is a bit of an overblown talent. Sure, he’s made an entertaining horror movie in the form of Cabin Fever, but everything else, including only the two Hostels, aren’t anything to really write home about. Yeah, they’re every bit as bloody, gory and gruesome as movies in the horror genre, but do they really do anything other than just splatter a bunch of ketchup at the screen? Not really. That’s why whenever I would hear some people call Roth “a horror genius”, I can’t help but wonder what it about him, or the movies that he’s made, something of genius?
And while the Green Inferno doesn’t really push me closer to that answer, it still helps me understand why so many people love the dude to begin with.
For one, it’s as disgusting as you’d expect it to be which, depending on who you are, may or may not be a good thing. In most cases, I don’t mind movies being disgusting, so long as they have a reason for being so; that the Green Inferno takes place in roughly the same place as Cannibal Holocaust did, helps make it easy to sink-in the fact that, yes, dismemberment does tend to happen on a daily basis and yes, people do get eaten like fried chicken, as well. Nothing in this jungle that the movie’s taking place in is pretty, so therefore, why would anything that they do to each other, or to generally considered “outsiders”, be as such? There is no reason, which is why it’s actually fine that Roth splits and splats as many body-parts as he wants. After all, it’s his movie and he can choose to do with it, whatever he oh so pleases.
With that said, Roth doesn’t really have anything more to say other than, well, “Cannibals are scary, yo. Avoid at all costs.” While I don’t necessarily have a problem, or disagree with this sentiment, there’s a part of me that feels as if Roth could have gone one step further, especially due to the fact that he had plenty of ingredients to do so with. Take, for instance, the characters in the environmentalist group – most of whom seem to be genuinely nice kids who want to help out the world around them, rather than just sitting around, with their fingers on their laptops, and American privilege coming out of their rear-ends. But the movie also shows that they’re all, no matter how nice or nasty they may seem to be, very naive about the world that they want to help and think that all is fine as long as there’s love and care.
This is actually a very interesting idea that Roth brings up and seems to want to go somewhere with, but also chicken-out of by the end. Though he’s not saying that these types of lefties are inherently “bad”, or “stupid”, he’s also not painting them in any sort of favorable light, either. In fact, the one who appears to be the leader of the group, is actually one of the more despicable characters of the movie as he’s always thinking and acting for his own self-interest, regardless of if it saves those around him, or not. He’s a total dick and the fact that he’s the leader of this group of people who aren’t supposed to be, is an interesting piece of story-telling.
But it ultimately falls on deaf ears once Roth realizes that he enjoys breaking-off body-parts more.
And I honestly can’t blame him because the type of carnage and violence that Roth depicts here is, disturbing and in-your-face, however, he never seems to be glamorizing it in some kind of way. He may see that the violence can look pretty gory and get those types of gore-hounds of their seats to cheer, but he also notices that it’s also pretty screwed-up and doesn’t let us forget about that, especially when we live in a world where radical extremists like ISIS are doing the same, if not worse, things in real life, as these unnamed cannibals do here. This is probably another case of unnecessary speculation from yours truly, but regardless, it helped me think of this movie as more than just another one of those ordinary, stupid and overly-grimy horror movies that we get hit with every other month or so.
I still don’t think Roth is a genius of any sorts, but who knows? He may be getting there soon enough.
Consensus: Regardless of if you’re a huge fan of Eli Roth in the first place, the Green Inferno is still a dirty, disgusting and ultimately disturbing horror movie that flings all sorts of limbs at the screen, yet, doesn’t forget the sort of chills that they bring, as well.
6 / 10