The Green Inferno (2013)
Directed by: Eli Roth
Written by: Eli Roth, Guillermo Amoedo
Starring: Aaron Burns, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Ignacia Allamand, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Lorenza Izzo, Magda Apanowicz, Matías López, Nicolás Martínez, Ramón Llao, Richard Burgi, Sky Ferreira
THE GREEN INFERNO (2013)
Directed by Eli Roth
A group of student activists travel to Peru in a bid to prevent the rainforest habitat of an Amazonian tribe from being bulldozed by a development company. All seems to be going to plan until the light aircraft they’re travelling in crashes into the jungle, into the very heart of the land they’re trying to protect. As the students soon discover, the Amazonian tribe that reside there aren’t that thrilled about their ‘saviours’ dropping in on them and quickly find a purpose for their new visitors – their next meal!
Eli Roth is back in the director’s seat with his long-awaited cannibal horror THE GREEN INFERNO. Co-written and co-produced with his Chilewood associates Guillermo Amoedo and Nicolas Lopez, the film stars Chilean actress Lorenza Izzo who also starred in Aftershock and the more recent Knock Knock opposite Keanu Reeves. Despite Knock Knock having hit cinemas earlier, it was in fact The Green Inferno which was made first, all the way back in 2013, and is now, finally, getting its release on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK much to the delight of horror fans across the nation. After the interview with Roth, Lopez and Izzo back in 2013 where we discussed the film, is it everything we’ve been waiting for?
Lorenza Izzo leads the way as Justine, an idealistic young woman who decides to join the student activists, led by the arrogant Alejandro (Ariel Levy), in helping to create a better world. Her resolve to connect with her captors in a bid to seek out their humanity and survive sets her apart from her fellow activists who either struggle under the stress of being next on the menu or aren’t clever enough to escape unscathed. Whilst most of her fellow activists are likable innocents, such as Daryl Sabara’s Lars and Aaron Burns’ Jonah, a couple of activists, Alejandro included, are so self centred that you hope they will get their dose of karma before they get the chance to throw their so-called friends under a bus… or rather onto the tribe’s dinner plate.
Much like Hostel and Cabin Fever, the first part of the movie is the scene setter where we get to know the main group of characters a bit better. After the film establishes itself and gets going, the horror element of the cannibalistic tribe comes into play. The fact that the tribe shown on screen are the real deal, as in they’re an authentic Amazonian tribe who’ve no concept of ice, movies or mobile phones, makes the story that much better. As in the interview, I enjoyed listening to Roth and Izzo on the Blu-Ray’s audio commentary discussing the tribe and how they instantly took to their newfound roles as “actors”. And what a role they play. With the aid of SFX master Greg Nicotero, these adults and children chomp, rip and tear their way through their new arrivals but for all its flesh-nibbling goodness, there seems a lack of the intense horror I was expecting. Instead, we get a good ol’ dose of humour plopped into the mix which dilutes the horror somewhat as it becomes a survival flick with horror elements and Scooby Doo plans. My hopes of a modern, straight-laced and frightening cannibal horror were dashed as I came to terms with this, a mainstream horror who’s comical moments, between the uncomfortable visuals of humans being ripped apart and women facing genital mutilation, create something that will appeal to more than just the die-hard horror hounds. Because of this, I feel the latter will be sorely disappointed. Where Hostel was quite brutal and had the odd funny moment, The Green Inferno appears to try to balance the two whilst breaking up the horror action by having conflict between our set of main characters, therefore taking away focus from the horrors committed and fear inflicted by the tribe.
The Green Inferno showcases plenty of neat ideas but the lack of gruelling violence, which I think would work so well in this movie, means it’s less effective as a cannibal movie for those who like their horror extreme. Kudos to Roth and his team though for going out of their way to show a true Amazonian tribe even if they do feel a little underused.
The Region 2 Blu-Ray has no special features to mention except for the audio commentary with cast and crew and with the option of 5.1 or 2.0 audio. I thought there might have been a few featurettes on the disc but, alas, there is not. I really hope Roth decides to release his filmmaking diaries from the shoot though as somehow I feel I would enjoy them more than I did the film itself.
The Green Inferno is not the unstoppable onslaught of cannibal horror I was hoping for but its softcore approach will surely please the masses throughout its 100 minutes running time.