Timeline fun! I went to an Eli Roth panel in September of 2013 and he was talking about their experiences filming “The Green Inferno.” It was intended to be released in September of 2014, but Open Road distribution had to pull it due to financial troubles. About a year later, Blumhouse picked up “The Green Inferno” and it now comes out in September of 2015. So much time has passed that Eli Roth’s next movie, “Knock Knock,” comes out two weeks later. Roth’s press schedule must be nuts.
Anyway, “The Green Inferno” is about an activist organization trying to aid in the preservation of an amazonian tribe. The activists are a group New York college students and their plan is to chain themselves to tress and live stream the event on their phones. Once the bulldozers see the phones, they immediately stop their deforestation. Gleeful about their online success, the activists head back home. Unfortunately, their plane crashes and they quickly discover that those amazonians are cannibals.
The group consists of mostly people you would want to see be eaten. Justine (Lorenza Izzo) is our anchor as she’s new to the game of self-serving activisim. She’s attracted to idea of volunteering to help people and that turns out to be the wrong incentive for volunteering. We quickly learn that the group’s leader, Alejandro (Ariel Levy), is in it more for the praise and exposure rather than the altruism. Once the group is held captive their superficial poise immediately dissolves into bickering, self preservation, and masterbation.
Eli Roth is pretty juvenile and that’s a good thing. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the occasional boorish movie. The man likes sex, poop jokes, and violence. I don’t always need an emblematic cause for gore. Sometimes it’s just fun to see someone’s head explode ala “Cabin Fever.” This is where “The Green Inferno” stutter steps itself into stupidity. He added a message(s).(?)
A “Social Justice Warrior” is a recently coined term, but I’m pretty sure they’ve been around for a while. They’re privileged folk standing up for the impoverished. That sounds all well and good, but they can stray passed their good intentions by vehemently attacking prejudice I order to raise their prestige. “The Green Inferno” makes it a point to expose these humble bragging activists. And there is plenty of material there. The Kony 2012 video received a fair share of backlash for their misinformation about Uganda and how they distributed their donations.
Horror movies have always tortured satirical versions of contemporary jerks. They’re outlets for injustice and frustration. It’s here where “The Green Inferno” falls apart. Yeah, his activist characters are deplorable, but they’re not as deplorable as the activists from “Cannibal Holocaust.” The violence is gruesome, but it never really feels scary. I think that’s due to the slacker comedy. There are poop jokes along with high cannibals getting the munchies. Once the movie advocates an idea, the next scene negates it.
- Gruesome cannibalism!
- Jerk Off Joke!
- Political Statement!
- Closure of Theme
- Non-Sensical Twist Ending!
I hate this criticism, but I feel like “Th Green Inferno” doesn’t commit to any one theme or atmosphere. It may be a compensation for not exactly knowing its message. There’s passion behind “The Green Inferno” and Roth is angry about something, but I’m not sure he has the means to articulate his frustration. “The Green Inferno” isn’t politically charged enough to be intriguing, horrific enough to be shocking, or goofy enough to be fun. There’s a way to be all three, but this movie doesn’t even come close. Still excited for “Knock Knock” though.
EXTRA DELECIOUS BITS:
- It’s a nice homage to “Cannibal Holocaust.” That movie still makes me feel dirty.
- This reviews a little preachy.
- This movie was immaculately photographed. The technical aspects are top notch.