Finally, after waiting two years for a movie that was announced back in 2013, I got to watch The Green Inferno last night. Taking inspiration from Cannibal Holocaust, The Green Inferno tells the story of a handful of college student activists traveling to South America to save a rain forest and its inhabitants. Only, the inhabitants aren't exactly grateful... In fact, you could say they are completely indifferent as long as they get to eat. Human endurance and limitations are tested in this story of survival at any cost, and it's a safe bet not everyone makes it out alive.
Surprisingly, regardless of the hype surrounding the film and the infamous red band trailer, I found this movie to be tame - especially for an Eli Roth cannibal movie. When the movie finished, I wondered if there was more we didn't get to see due to the change of hands with the production companies, and perhaps if there would be an extended/unrated version released later. Don't get me wrong, the movie stands on its own with its original death scenes, but I kind of expected more. Eli Roth was quoted as saying, "Making a movie that no one could watch would be like a standing ovation," and I just don't think that's this movie.
The overall sense of helplessness and gritty tone of the film once the activists are captured is brilliant and just plain real. Immediately, you realize the language barrier is not the only thing that separates the activists from the cannibals, but also the fact that these cannibals are operating on a completely different frequency. Their sense of right and wrong is detached from their actions as cannibals, and there is nothing you can say or do to change their minds. Culture shock doesn't begin to describe the feeling of seeing a bunch of children tear someone apart and feed on them. The movie is sick, and you should know that going in. This is Eli Roth, after all, and if you aren't familiar with his work perhaps you should start off with Hostel or Cabin Fever.
The cannibals aren't the only monsters in the film, however, as we see after the activists are imprisoned by them. Friendships are betrayed, morality becomes blurred, and we get to see just how far someone is willing to go to stay alive. It made me think about how I would act in the same situation, and I really can't say. But considering they killed the biggest guy first I don't really think I would have much time to decide, either. I can say that I enjoyed the story and the acting was great. The differing reactions by the activists in any given situation made the movie feel real, and when you combine that with the realistic setting, it keeps you pulled in.
As I said, the movie is definitely worth checking out, but I think they could have done more. Perhaps my tolerance has just raised over the years and now I'm just jaded, but I found several scenes that I would have done differently. For instance, when the escapees from the cannibal prison came across the crash site and saw everyone impaled - where was that scene? When the leader of the tribe was going to do the ritual on the main character, why stop there? When the cannibal came running into the camp with the head of one of the construction workers, how did he get it? These scenes would be absolutely included if it were up to me to release an extended/unrated version. If Eli Roth wants to make a movie people can't watch, then I say bring it on. Challenge accepted.
3 out of 4.
The wait is over. Welcome to The Green Inferno.
Cheers and goodnight.