Just to note the following review may contain spoilers. I’ll try my best not to but they might slip out!
Eli Roth. Some would call him the horror maestro. What I found shocking is that as a director his CV is a bit on the short side. He has 15 credits as a director on IMBD but that’s including shorts and TV. The Green Inferno (2013) was only his 4th full length feature film. He has since done Knock, Knock (2015) and has two future films planned. He’s definitely more prolific as a producer and has produced films I didn’t even know about. Not that I actively go out of my way researching producers and what they produce. I do have a day job, I promise!
I remember reading about The Green Inferno in Empire magazine (I think, don’t quote me) many years ago and even then it sounded disturbing but also intriguing. And then it just vanished from my memory. As you can see it was supposed to come out in 2013 but didn’t actually come out until 2015! Why did it take two years to release? Well I did some digging on the web and the film was delayed due to the production company running into financial difficulties. So it was just left until Blumhouse Productions picked it up and gave it a theatrical release in the US. The UK however got left out. Other than a few festival showings it never got a run in UK Cinemas. The only reason I came across it again is because it’s recently been added to Netflix. Only a small 5 years after it was made!
The Green Inferno is a film about a group of student activists who travel to the Amazon to save the rain forest and local tribes from being destroyed. The group is headed up by the supposedly “handsome” Alejandro, played by Ariel Levy. He comes up with idea of sabotaging the construction site by having the students chain themselves to the diggers and then stream from their phones the destruction. Of course questions were asked around safety and if they could be killed by the local police. To which Alejandro replies, “You know the risks”. It’s not exactly reassuring if you ask me. Before this we were introduced to the main character, Justine, played by the gorgeously gorgeous Lorenza Izzo (Knock, Knock) She has the hots for Alejandro and wants to join the group. Her intentions seem fairly obvious, but as Alejandro has girlfriend it seems to be more around wanting to make a difference and save lives. So now a quick whistle stop tour of what happens next. They get to the amazon, they chain up, they stream, the police nearly kill one of them, they’re sent home, they make the news, they’re trending on the web, they celebrate, the plane’s engine explodes, plane crashes in the Amazon, shit starts to get real.
For the survivors, it isn’t long before they’re sprung upon by a tribe. Who are extremely hostile and start throwing spears at the students, killing a few in the process. The rest are darted and taken away. When they wake they’re being transported by boat to the tribe’s main location. It’s from here where it becomes fairly obvious that the tribe are definitely not nice as we are treated to lovely sights of heads on sticks. A little tip, don’t be eating your dinner while watching this because heads on a stick is nothing compared to what you see next. I’ve seen my fair share of horror films and never had a problem with gore but one scene nearly made me throw up. I thought I had seen it all but apparently not. It really grossed me out. Which I guess is a good thing for the effects team because it was so visceral it looked real, which is the whole point in the first place. But yeah, think I’ve found my gore breaking point!
Other than that scene, the rest of the film is pretty forgetful. There’s more gore of course but nothing noteworthy. It’s more about trying to escape the crazy sonsabitches without being eaten alive. There is a reveal from one character that should have made more impact but to me it was fairly obvious. Other than Justine and Alejandro, the rest of the characters are showing face and don’t do or say much. The emphasis is definitely geared towards the gore and ironically for a horror film that’s why it hasn’t worked. Eli has gone for the shock factor, much like he did with Hostel. Whereas here more character development and less gore would have made a much more grounded film. The phrase “less is more” has never been more relevant. I didn’t need to see absolutely everything in gory detail to understand what was going on. Ariel and Lorenza do a good enough job with their roles but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. I’d definitely recommend watching Knock, Knock to see Lorenza in a better role.
The Green Inferno is getting a thumbs down from me. I really hope Eli’s future films focus less on gore and more on story.