Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Movie Review #317: "The Green Inferno" (2015)

Movie"The Green Inferno"
Ticket Price: $7.00
Director: Eli Roth
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Image Source
A group of college student activists travel to Peru to protest the deforestation of the Amazon and the displacement and murder of native tribes. While returning home from a successful demonstration, their plane goes down in the middle of the rainforest and they are captured by one of the native tribes they were trying to protect. This tribe turns out to be cannibalistic and they plan to eat the group of activists.  

Eli Roth is basically the king of torture porn gore-fest cinema. If you are familiar with Roth's previous works such as "Cabin Fever" and the "Hostel" series, you pretty much know what to expect and how he operates when it comes to his movies. When "The Green Inferno" was first made back in 2013, there was a lot of hype around how gory, gross, unsettling, and disturbing the film was. There were rumors that people couldn't stomach to sit through it and they were throwing up in the aisles; some even needed to be transported to hospitals because they were so sick afterwards. Now that the film has finally got national distribution from Blumhouse, we had the opportunity to see it (well, I went reluctantly), and though it is extremely gory and gross, it certainly didn't live up to the lofty expectations set before us.

Let's get it out of the way first: do not see this movie if you have a weak stomach for blood, guts, gore, violence, vomit, diarrhea, bodily fluids, the shafts of penises, ritualistic slaughter, or a fear of travel because this movie has all of this and more. If you aren't used to seeing films like this or aren't a horror fan, A) what the hell are you doing watching this film?, and B) regardless of how hardcore you think you are if you are a horror/gore fan, this movie could definitely rattle you and it might even make you queasy. Hell, I'm a huge horror movie fan and even I recoiled in horror a couple of times. For the avid horror fan, "The Green Inferno" is par for the disgusting course and is full of sick, twisted images and depraved behavior that might make you reach for the nearest barf bag. Sadly, it doesn't really break any new ground and probably isn't anything you haven't seen before. To us, it is actually far less effective than Roth's previously mentioned film "Hostel." One reason for this is the situation in "Hostel" is far more relateable. The chances of someone vacationing in Europe are probably much higher than getting stranded in the rainforest because of a plane crash after protesting in a foreign country. Another reason is because in "Hostel," we as the audience truly despise those who are doing the torturing and killing because they are simply sadistic bastards, and here, the people involved in the cannibalism are just a tribe living by what is socially and morally acceptable to them. Here, the only character we hate from very early on is the head of the activist group Alejandro, played by Ariel Levy, who winds up being a total asshat and sociopath.

There is definitely some ultimate irony in the activists being eaten by the very tribe they were trying to save, yet their only hope of survival is being rescued by the very people they were trying to stop. This is the only plot point worth mentioning apart from the rest of the carnage-filled barf-o-rama. Though the audience obviously gets this concept, the irony of their situation never seems to fully dawn on any of the characters themselves. Plus, the whole thing takes way too long to get going as it's well over the halfway point of the film before their plane actually crashes. Everything leading up to that point, though meant as character development, just felt like and is filler. Plus, none of the actors are particularly talented. Though they might just be inexperienced and only had a weak script and story to work with, they are still really bad nonetheless. Ultimately, it takes too long for us to care about any of them or their plight and very few people from their activist group other than the main protagonist Justine, played by Lorenza Izzo, were even likable, and even she was snotty. On a different note, the one good thing we can say is most of the gore is relatively realistic and done very well. The majority of the scenes were done with practical makeup work and were just bloody enough, though blood and gore for the sake of blood and gore with no good context around it doesn't constitute a horror movie. People are killed in a variety of different ways with a flimsy story holding it together, and one of the worst death scene in the movie involves some really poorly CGI'ed ants, which are just so jarringly fake it took us right out of the danger and right into a smelly movie theater of falseness, knocking the suspension of disbelief right out of us.

There are a lot of gray areas when it comes to the tribe used in this film as extras, and many people have gone as far as saying Roth is a racist for using them under false or misleading pretenses, raising them up as the stars only to cast them as carnal, cannibalistic savages. We don't know if we'd go as far as using the word "racist," but something definitely didn't sit right with us about the contradictions in this regard when all was said and done. There are some truly awful performances, tons of "jokes" that didn't land where they were intended, and not a whole lot redeeming about "The Green Inferno" apart from the aforementioned buckets o' blood and guts. It's not what we thought it would be and it's certainly not Roth's best.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 37%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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