The Green Inferno DVD Review
Written by Charlotte Stear
DVD released by Entertainment One
Directed by Eli Roth
Written by Guillermo Amoedo and Eli Roth
2016, 100 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 22nd February 2016
Lorenza Izzo as Justine
Ariel Levy as Alejandro
Daryl Sabara as Lars
Kirby Bliss Blanton as Amy
Magda Apanowicz as Samantha
Sky Ferreira as Kaycee
Nicolás Martínez as Daniel
Aaron Burns as Jonah
Ignacia Allamand as Kara
It’s been a long wait for Eli Roth fans to see the first movie he’s directed since Hostel II, which came out back in 2007. I missed out on a chance to see The Green Inferno when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival back in 2013, “Never mind” I thought, “it will be released soon enough.” Boy, was I wrong. Whether you’re a fan of Roth’s work or not, he’s the kind of filmmaker that pulls in the crowd; people want to watch his stuff to lap it up and diss it in equal measure. The marmite of the horror world, if you will. So after a delay from distribution back in 2014, The Green Inferno has been a long time coming.
It’s news to no one that Roth is a big horror nerd and this output is his homage to the exploitation movies that inspired him when growing up, namely Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox. Taking its name from the area the doomed explorers from Holocaust seek out, and also Deodato’s original working title for the movie, Inferno focuses on Justine (Lorenza Izzo), a young student who joins a group of activists journeying to Peru to stop the demolition of a rainforest that will destroy local native tribe towns. But after their successful mission, their plane crashes and the group are taken by a local tribe of cannibals.
Roth’s plan to make the characters one dimensional and delusional as a way to highlight the narcissism of youth today (Justine, a girl believing she can stop female genital mutilation in countries all over the world with just a call to daddy at the UN) only works if you completely believe that’s his actual intention and not, you know...bad writing. Either way it stops you really rooting for any character’s survival. Izzo provide us with the best performance despite her character’s flaws, she starts off a little wooden but that’s probably just to match the rest of the cast’s style, namely Sky Ferreira’s minor role as her roommate. Izzo’s performance grows stronger as her character comes to terms with her horrific reality in the cannibal tribe and by the end she’s the most solid thing to come out of the movie.
The film, like Holocaust and Ferox, is a little slow to get going, laying the groundwork in the US with the action starting about halfway in when they arrive in Peru. Roth does a good job of building up tension but it’s flecked with silly humour which breaks that up somewhat. In the gore stakes, the first cannibal kill is utterly brutal, but after that, nothing seems to be able to match up to it. But the problem with Inferno is it keeps up the stupid humour when things turn sour for the group. The tone is uneven, like it’s not sure what it wants to be; after watching a character brutally ripped to pieces we’re presented with a guy that jerks off in the wake of his friends being murdered, local natives getting stoned and literal shit jokes, all of which takes away any dread you’d been feeling leading up to their capture. It’s a frat boy style sense of humour that’s jarring, unnecessary and not particularly funny either.
It’s hard to say who will get the most out of this movie, fans of Roth will gladly watch it but anyone who loved Hostel may feel let down in the gore stakes and anyone wanting a little depth won’t be watching it in the first place. Also note, there’s a little extra scene after the credits roll which sort of alludes to a sequel, making this movie all the more ridiculous. It’s hard to call this a bad movie, it’s just... kind of stupid, and disregarding the silly elements, as a film made by someone who loves the cannibal genre so much, you’ll find it hard not to be disappointed.