Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Green Inferno

Year: 2015
Director: Eli Roth
Cast: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Nicolas Martinez

Plot: A group of activists travel to Peru to save indigenous tribes from being driven from their homes by illegal loggers, only for them to be captured by a cannibalistic tribe after their plane crashes in the jungle.

Review: It seems that this film had its release delayed for a couple of years and is finally seeing the light of day. It was inspired by a classic film called Cannibal Holocaust, which I have not seen, hence my curiosity for checking this out.

The Green Inferno begins with Justine, a young student who decides to join a group of activists on a trip to Peru. The objective is to stop illegal logging in the rainforest which is destroying the homes of indigenous tribes there. While the act of chaining themselves to tractors and trees and facing the guns of the loggers' security forces are downright dangerous, it pales in comparison to the threat of a tribe that captures them after their plane crashes in the jungle. As it turns out, the tribe is made up of cannibals, and they have to find a way to escape before they become the tribe's next meal.

Eli Roth has been known for making gory and bloody horror films. Therefore you can expect a high level of the sort here, though thanks to the local censors, I didn't get to see much of it. But I did get to see the horrific plane crash, as well as some of the awful things the tribe does to the group after their capture, including a scene where a tribe woman puts a sharp object into three women's genitals, which although isn't graphically shown, proves to be quite discomforting to the viewer.

If Roth had set out to make a cannibal horror flick through and through, this would have been a much better film than what I had seen. As it stands, it's not entirely that. For the first 45 minutes, we watch Justine trying to sign up to a cause she doesn't totally believe in, probably in an attempt to discover herself or figuring out how to make herself matter. On the plus side, it allows us to connect to Justine as our lead protagonist. But on the flipside, it takes the film quite a while before it gets started.

The film also lacks suspense somewhat, as Roth prefers to rely on the gore to scare the audience. There are a few suspenseful moments here and there, but not enough to keep viewers on edge. The mid credits scene hinting at a sequel is also a poor idea and rather cliched.

The good news is, Lorenza Izzo does a solid job as Justine, with Spy Kids' Daryl Sabara providing the laughs as the stoner of the group. Ariel Levy plays the asshole and leader of the group well enough, but his character is rather two dimensional. The other good news is the way Roth presents the cannibals here. Instead of being shown as violent and merciless, the tribe is presented as rather normal people that are simply different from us because of their isolation from civilization and progress, and the things that they do are regular to them, even though we may think otherwise. Being in their cage is similar to being in a wolf's den compared to a demon's lair.

Overall, The Green Inferno is just a slightly above average thriller, though this reviewer would like to see an uncensored version of this film somewhere down the line. (6/10)  

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