31 Nights of Halloween Horror: Part 1 in a 31 part series. Join me for 31 days of horror reviews in the month of October. Every day we’ll take a look at a different horror film, some old and some new. Today we’re talking about:
The Green Inferno
Dir. Eli Roth
2013/Released 2015 – USA
Let’s kick this month off with what is probably the most anticipated movie of the year for horror fans, Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno. Development began in 2012 and the genre became a buzz that Eli Roth’s next horror film was going to be a throw back to cannibal films of old. Many of us couldn’t be more excited to hear this news. A new cannibal movie from someone who is actually a fan of the cannibal genre, this is going to be awesome.
With the movie finished and stills and trailers released, a date was set for 2014 for the unveiling, however the film was pulled from distribution due to financial difficulties from the distributor and sat in limbo. By now the anticipation is killing us, we want to see a new cannibal film! Is it going to go straight to video, will it ever get released? Finally a new distributor swoops in and saved the day. Green Inferno got a theatrical release on September 25, 2015. The cannibal gods are pleased.
There are two ways to view this movie, one is by those who are not at all familiar with the 70s/80s cannibal genre and have not seen films like Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly), Eaten Alive, etc. The other is by those of us who kneel down before the great cannibal altar of these films and gladly devour the human flesh presented to us. I come from the later and thus viewed the movie with that knowledge.
For those that don’t know, Cannibal Holocaust is the grandaddy of all cannibal films. It easily will make every person’s top ten list of most disturbing films of all time. It is brutal, relentless, dirty, unforgivingly in your face, and confrontational. One of only a few films that after watching I need to go take a shower.
Eli Roth has consistently said that Cannibal Holocaust is one of his favorite films and one of the reasons he has gotten into directing. For him to take on the cannibal genre, he has some pretty big shoes to fill. I know my cannibal history, I know what I want in a cannibal film, I am not going to be picky about it at all. Bad story, lame acting, whatever, just bring on the gut munching. I mean really, who are we kidding here? Who is this movie for? I realize every artist wants to expand their audience, but is this really a love letter to us in the coveted horror underground? If so, bring it on. Eli Roth is one of those few people who is not ashamed to admit his love of horror and call himself a horror director.
OK enough background, let’s get on with the film. Spoilers Ahead.
The story is basic. A group of activists on a college campus decide to fly down to Peru, chain themselves to some tractors, and stop the destruction of the rain forest and save a village from being wiped out, all the while have it streaming live from their phones and tweeting about it. The trip is a success and they begin their journey home when one of the engines explodes on their little plane and they crash land into the jungle. We are about 45 minutes into the film now, and this is where the fun begins, this is what we have been waiting for.
Those that survived the crash are captured by a colorful cannibalistic tribe and brought back to their camp. I hate to spoil things for you here, but since this is a cannibal movie, people do get eaten. And the first victim is shown being devoured in probably the goriest part of the movie, while it is no holding back, the edits are so quick and close up, I am not sure if I saw a tongue or an eye being ripped out. If this was a Ruggero Deodato or Umberto Lenzi flick the camera wouldn’t have pulled away, we would have seen the meat and sauce drip in all its glory. It was at this point, I knew something was amiss with this movie. But ok, I am in for the long haul, they still have six more people to eat, there is still hope.
Slowly as our cast dwindled through a few more choice feasting scenes, I never had that dirty feeling or screamed out “god damn” and cringed as previous cannibal films have made me do. The film ended exactly how it should have, for those in the know think the ending of Cannibal Ferox, and I couldn’t help but feel a little let down. I was expecting more, I was hoping for more. He really didn’t seem to out do the most notorious of cannibal films, if anything The Green Inferno was a step above Jungle Holocaust, maybe even Mountain of the Cannibal God, but nowhere near being banned in 31 countries or one of the most disturbing movies ever made.
With all that being said. I salute Eli Roth, he brought a cannibal film to the silver screen 30+ years after that notorious sub genre of horror died out. It was great to see, and I am glad that Eli Roth had the balls to do it. Maybe those who have never seen a cannibal film will think this is utterly gross and shocking, and no doubt it was and kudos to that, but those of us who are well versed in gut munching know there was so much more that could have been done.
Perhaps there was too much humor at times in the film when there should have been more peril or maybe it was all just too clean when it should have looked dirty, I don’t know. But Eli Roth has still yet to impress me with one of his films, don’t get me wrong, they have all been good, but none of them have been great and from someone as well versed in the genre as him, I would expect more. Regardless of all that The Green Inferno is the most important horror film made in years and everyone should rush out to the theatre to see so it can make some money and show the powers that be in hollywood we want more of this and less of Poltergeist remakes.