His first horror movie since Hostel: Part II, Eli Roth, with this film, writes a love-letter of sorts to the classic 70’s and 80’s Italian cannibal flicks. At times, The Green Inferno is deeply uncomfortable, undeniably brutal, and genuinely horrifying, yet it’s kept back from being a truly great film due to the somewhat anticlimactic conclusion.
While I won’t say that I was an activist when at college, I did participate in a handful of demonstrations and most memorably, in an anti-Guantanamo Bay protest, so it was interesting seeing such activities from a different perspective (Sky Ferreira’s nihilism and glib references to tear-gassing protesters was pretty disturbing, on a side-note). Seeing a naive freshman getting wrapped up in an activist group, then seeing her utterly broken throughout the course of the film, was both depressing but well-done.
It helps that Lorenza Izzo was able to pull-off the innocent, idealistic college kid look. She generally had a pretty strong and emotional performance. Eusebio Arenas was okay as slight comedic relief, but didn’t really fit in with the vibe I was otherwise getting from the film. Perhaps my favorite actor here was Nicolás Martínez, who, despite definitely not looking like a college student, had a particularly strong presence (and was one of the few truly good characters here). On the flip-side, Ariel Levy did well playing the scumbag leader of the activist group – past a certain point, nothing his character did was worth applauding, but he played the type well.
The Green Inferno does take a little while to get to the point, and it’s something like 45 minutes into the movie until things really get bad. I can imagine that bothering some people, but I was actually pretty interested from the get-go, and the protest scene after they get to Peru was damn tense, which only escalated over the following twenty minutes.
Which leads to the gore. Personally, I was somewhat taken aback by just how graphic one of the scenes was (which including both dismemberment and the messy removal of eyeballs), and when I first saw that scene, I admit I was disturbed. I watched it a few additional times, and it still positively stands out. The unfortunate thing is that no other scene even comes close to that level of brutality. There’s a very uncomfortable scene à la female genital mutilation, but it’s not particularly graphic. Other scenes, such as one when a man is fed to ants while on a pole, didn’t really work that well (in that case, it was due to the somewhat bad-looking CGI ants).
Generally speaking, though, I think the gore here, while limited, was very solid when it showed up, and I’d daresay that it probably beats out any competing scene from the Hostel films. I just sort of wish there was more of it.
As it is, the conclusion was somewhat lackluster. I was expecting a bit more of a downer ending, which I wouldn’t have loved, but what we got didn’t really do it for me either, especially when they added in an utterly unnecessary dream sequence (it was short, at least). The post-credits scene, too, felt a bit much, and if they’re setting up for a potential sequel, I don’t think that would be all that great. Lastly, the marijuana scene was just a bit too ridiculous, and I definitely wish they had come up with a better idea than what they did.
When everything is said-and-done, I think The Green Inferno is a solid exploitation flick reminiscent of Man from Deep River (originally Il paese del sesso selvaggio) and Jungle Holocaust (Ultimo mondo cannibale). The gore is great when it’s present, and I can imagine some people thinking it a bit much. It’s not an amazing movie, but I do find it a little above average, and if you’re a gore-hound, or a fan of the classic cannibal movies, perhaps worth a watch.