Movie Name: “The Green Inferno”
Release Date: 25th of September 2015
Release: Theatrical Release
Horror Subgenre: Cannibalism
A group of student activists travels to the Amazon to save the rain forest and soon discover that they are not alone, and that no good deed goes unpunished.
The late seventies, early eighties were the peak years for some of the most notorious films in the cannibal-Horror sub-genre. The statement can be further reinforced with the fact that most of these films were banned in several countries because of the gratuitous violence, sexual content and real killing of animals. Of course we’re also talking about an era in the Horror cinema that was at its peak and offered gore, depravity and carnage as an art medium.
It’s no Surprise “The Green Inferno” was heavily influenced by the 1980 release “Cannibal Holocaust”. In a February 2013 interview with Empire Online, Eli Roth stated in that he chose “Cannibal Holocaust” as the first motion picture to be screen for the Indigenous Chilean people featured prominently in “The Green Inferno”.
“We went in the Amazon deeper than anyone has ever shot a movie before. I went so far up the river, we went to a village where they had no electricity, no running water, and they never before had seen a movie or television. We had to explain to them conceptually what a movie was, and we brought a television and a generator and we showed them Cannibal Holocaust. They thought it was the funniest thing that they had ever seen, but we had to know whether they were down with it to let us in their village.”
“The Green Inferno” was not intended to be a modern successor nor is it remake of “Cannibal Holocaust”. Expected of Eli Roth’s was an artistically created film that offered intriguing social commentary and gruelling visuals. Perhaps an engaging film that offered premise and underlying subtext through a relentless confrontational approach. “The Green Inferno” coupled two aspects of personal interest:
- Eli Roth’s next installment after a multi-year hiatus
- encapsulation of gore, violence, exploitation themes, from horror films of yesteryear.
However, the waiting game began after the unfortunate news surfaced when Open Road Films halted “The Green Inferno” from its initial release date. The reason for the drastic measure stemmed after financier Worldview Entertainment refused to adhere to print and advertising responsibilities, a deal that was apparently put in place by former Worldview Entertainment CEO Christopher Woodrow, who suddenly had departed from the company under secrecy.
The following analogy can best summarize the experience after watching “The Green Inferno”; eagerly waiting a whole year for Christmas on a promised Playstation 4 but disappointedly receiving a pair of reindeer printed socks.
“The Green Inferno” Film Analysis…
A group of full-time college students / environmental activists decide to execute a drastic and dramatic humanitarian effort. The group wants to prevent the massacre of an unknown indigenous tribe and thievery of precious resources beneath the village. They venture into the Amazon jungle leaving behind the comfort of their dorms, chain themselves to the logging machinery, stand up to armed military group put in place by the greedy conglomerate and record the unfolding drama with their satellite connected mobile phones.
The mission is a success, but unfortunately the festivities is short lived when the plane they’ve boarded unexpectedly crash lands in the Amazon and the environmentalists are mistaken for the evil deforestation club. What transpires later is an onslaught of (depending on your level of Horror cinema) barbarism on the helpless prisoners.
Can “The Green Inferno” be summarized with just a few words, the answer is a resounding; yes. However, Eli Roth teases the audience of a lurking subplot within the film. Through dialogue and quick handed scenes it’s not difficult to understands that there’s an underlying plot developing. The continuation to the storyline also cements itself with a post-closing credits scene. Yes, ladies and gentlemen there will be a sequel to “The Green Inferno”.
Let’s begin with the performance from the cast or lack thereof. The delivery was poor, cliched and lacked vibrancy. There isn’t a cast member on the roster to “The Green Inferno” that merits exclusion to this harsh criticism. Lines were delivered poorly, actions seemed robotically premeditated and the roles were under developed.
Lorenzo Izzo’s portrayal of the protagonist / heroine Justine was completely amateurish, with sentiment completely absence in her delivery. It was as if Eli Roth thought the audience would hook into Lorenzo Izzo’s doe-eyed innocent look as a source of connection. In reality the actress offered a portrayal suitable for a B-Horror Movie.
Sky Ferreira portrays Kaycee, Justine’s roommate and close friend, (please note the word “portrays” is used lightly.) The actress appears lethargic and disinterested and outright embarrassing. To the admittance of many in the audience, Sky Ferreira appears to be either high or intoxicated during the entirety of the film, “The Green Inferno”. The character, Kaycee should’ve been omitted from the script altogether simply for her unimportance to the overall storyline.
Ariel Levy execute dual personalities with the character, Alejandro. In the film, “The Green Inferno”, Alejandro is the passionate leader of the environmental activist group, the brains the behind plan to save the indigenous tribe halfway across the world. Suddenly, under captivity the prestigious Alejandro is reduced to the typical villainous asshole seen many times over in horror films. Does Ariel Levy succeed in both roles? No. The reason is because the character, Alejandro is so badly put together it’s comical.
“The Green Inferno” offered nothing in the realm of controversy, shock and gore. The graphic violence was kept to a tame level. Thus, setting “The Green Inferno” on a very low tier on the cannibal themed horror sub-genre. Some may disagree, but that personal dispute will depend entirely on the level and standard for Horror cinema. Eli Roth didn’t offer anything cringe worthy, period. The film was a watered exhibition that will surely disappoint fans of intense hard-to-digest (pun intended) cannibal films of yesteryear.
The Practical effects from make-up / special effects veterans Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger were fantastic. Every scene involving the talents of the special effects duo and their respected practical effects team truly shined. From the decapitation of the airplane pilot to the slaughter of the first victim each presentation was delivered and executed with a detail on realism.
The gore and violence depicted in Horror movies have declined tremendously over the years. Although, blood and guts is not necessary to define a good horror movie, there is of course the exception, case in point; the cannibal themed Horror sub-genre. Hollywood made it a standard to offer horror movies as low budgeted productions, complete with empty jump scares and computer generated apparitions. Eli Roth should be welcomed back to the director’s chair with his film, “The Green Inferno” simply for its approach on what a horror movie should be, gritty and edgy. While “The Green Inferno” may lack substance in its production, it surely triumphs over the found footage circus being paraded as scary and terrifying.