The Green Inferno, 2013
Fear will eat you alive.
ActorsStarring: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Sky Ferreira, Nicolas Martinez, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz, Matías López, Daryl Sabara, Aaron Burns, Ignacia Allamand, Mary Dunworth, Ramón Llao, Cody Pittman, Stefano Villabona, Richard Burgi, Antonieta Pari, Tatiana Panaifo, Percy Chumbe, Eusebio Arenas, Sally Rose, Clara Vázquez
This review may contain spoilers.
The wait was two years long, the hype; grand, which died down once the studios refused to finance a release, or Roth was abducted by an Italian Mondo-cult and forced to make the ridiculous but fun, Knock, Knock, 2015 before the Italian Mondo–cult would give him the spool, or the flash-drive back; with The Green Inferno printed or scribbled on it.
I had mentioned in my review for Knock Knock that Eli Roth was getting soft, in an outrageous way. I felt that he rushed up the Keanu Reeves/Roth vehicle (the program took default to its own style, perhaps) and that the direction was recalcitrant, with Eli Roth repeating dolly shots. It seemed Roth was preoccupied with other, more pressing on the deep wound matter(s).
Similarly, “The Green Inferno” suffers from self-willed directorial approach. Having said that, this preacher was pleasantly surprised as a significant part of the film is dedicated to a build-up that does not connect fully but blows up in the face by the end. The breathtaking aerial shots of the dense, intimidating, green, and spreading for an eternity Amazon are wonderful to look at. However, the feeling that all passengers will be subjected to Roth’s nightmare and extreme savagery only fills the happy music and the montage with a feeling of not just doom, but a Not so Happy Meal doom.
I believe this is the first time that a Roth film has the first act fully reserved to tell the story of zealous young activists and how they manage to save a tribal village and its indigenous and isolated tribes from complete annihilation. Yay.
Plus one of the clients from Hostel II, 2007 is here and he kept reminding of how he had gotten by the end of the whole warehouse-sale deal; home fucking improvement. That was fun.
Then the activists take the Cessna and festivities turn to pristine terror followed by panic and then what the world (or at least, this pilgrim) was waiting for; torture porn.
Once the surviving bunch is caged and the casualties of the plane crash are impaled, we get to watch Eli Roth roll up his sleeves and create a truly horrifying, appalling, disgusting and an outrageous scene that was a lot of fun to watch, complete to the keep in make-shift brick oven for over an hour or until the tattoos slide off or become charred with the skin, scene. Golly.
The scene introduces to us two characters (even though one of them was flashed before as Justine came to, earlier while being transferred from the crash site to jungle cuisine). They are the most fucked up looking with one of them covered in black shoe polish, The Bald Headhunter, with moobs, bad teeth, tusks for nose and a machete that could take on Jason any time of the day. Plus he wears leaves to cover his privates. Why fucking bother when you just had one of the future victims expose his willy to the world?
If The Bald Hunter is unnervingly fearsome, the second character that shows up from behind a hut made of palm tree leaves is a All Hallows Eve treat. The villain entry is blood-curdling, exotically disturbing and full of voodoo gone ripe.
She looks towards the sky when gouging an eye or two out. She prays to the Heavens (or Hell) as she eats the eyeball whole and drinks blood after decapitating the unlucky fat bastard. When she lowers her head it is pure chaos and I was muttering to myself, “go away you bitch.”
From there the film takes a nose dive again. The first time was the jet crashing, remember? After the effective disposal of victim number one; we watch as white women scream, savage women chant, white men scheme, the red children flock around the cage and try and keep a straight face and a scene where a hot chick takes a mighty dump, complete to the sounds associated with a mighty dump in front of the world. Kirby Bliss Blanton is brave and also sharting all over the place. Fucking awesome. I’m a sick puppy, I know.
The ugly as fuck and blind in one eye The Village Elder, with her nose pierced with a tiny dead green snake going through it and her long, crooked fingers holding sharp home-made gizmos and a couple of fucking doohickeys that she carries with her all the time, makes a couple of appearances. Always trying to modify the white devil captives. She performs clitordisectomy (mutilation of female genitalia) and when the mutilation does not go as planned or one of them tries to flee, the women are killed and their skinned-tattoos are later used as play-things by the red village children, who try to stick them on to their bodies. The cultural sensitivities of Roth’s previous films are thrown off the balcony.
There’s also the huge ass ants, the nonsensical weed plan –
“Oh fuck, they got the munchies!” Satire: hardy har har – the poison darts, the boob slip, full-frontal with white body paint. The only thing missing was a goddam cauldron.
I believe that this is Roth’s most mature (by his own standards) film. It has a plot, it has a secondary plot; fuck, it even has character development and well-placed humor.
What it does not have is visuals to converge into or even measure up to the hype the delay caused. Some viewers will gobble this up whole, rancid slop or not but The Green Inferno is surely not adding to Roth’s circle of fans or friendly critics.
However, in support of the film; Roth is incessant in dishing out one unbearable scene after another, assaulting the viewers without break. He does not stop the rampage, the film is determined in its pace and gore and slice and dice and blood and vigorous in its execution of film brutality; not allowing for the audience to let go of their seats’ hand rests. I can almost say I had a pretty great time, however it could’ve been even more solid in its message of uninformed activism and the perils associated with it with both sides perceiving the other rather incorrectly. Like how Roth would like to be thought of, yes?
“Look, it’s good they ate Josh first. He should last them almost a week.”