“The Green Inferno” (2013) Starring Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy and Aaron Burns. Directed by Eli Roth. Social Justice warriors travel to the Amazon jungle to stop the deforestation of tribal land. Soon they discover that they are surrounded by horrible people, and that the natives are cannibals that find them delicious. Carnage ensues.
By now I’m sure that most of you have heard of “The Green Inferno” thanks to the Hype Train. (Choo choo!) It aired at several film festivals and then sat on a shelf collecting dust for three years after it was purchased by a distributor. (Same thing happened to “The Cabin in the Woods” hmmm…)
Since it was so well received by critics and horror lovers that saw it in the festival circuit, it got a ton of press. And the longer it took for the movie to be released, the most people started to slaver for it. And I mean drool all over their phones and PC screens whenever they saw a clip or still from the film. Because of this, “The Green Inferno” became seriously hyped up. Like, BIG TIME hyped up.
But, does it deserve it’s reputation as a good film that you MUST see? Read on to find out!
If for some chance you have been living in a cave for the last three years or so, “The Green Inferno” is a cannibal film. Thankfully, it’s just an homage to “Cannibal Holocaust” and doesn’t join in on the shocksploitation, or the killing of real animals for entertainment purposes.
To be honest, I had put off seeing this movie for a while, because I had wrongly assumed that it was just another torture porn cannibal shockfest, thanks to the ever faster chugging Internet Hype Train. Boy was I pleasantly surprised when I saw that it wasn’t.
“The Green Inferno” is a good film. There I said it.
“The Green Inferno” parallels “Cannibal Holocaust” (CH) in many ways, including the opening shot of flying over the jungle. Hell, even the title comes from CH, it was originally going to be called “The Green Inferno” but they changed the name prior to distribution. How about that?
Green Inferno can mean several things in the context of the film, it can mean the hot, humid horrible jungle, and it can also refer to the character’s journey through hell on earth. Rather clever if you ask me.
Yes, it’s true. This film is actually intelligent. Imagine that.
While GI does follow some of the narrative structure of CH, it doesn’t stoop down to its horrid exploitation level. It doesn’t frame the natives as sex starved maniacs, it doesn’t show bad guy main characters killing animals for shits and giggles. It doesn’t even have a castration scene in it. Wait? What?
You didn’t know that CH has a scene where one of the asshole main characters has his dick chopped off, on-screen? Yeah. That really happens in the film. Personally, I don’t recommend “Cannibal Holocaust” to anyone. Not even to true blue gore-hounds. We know who you are, and you won’t like it. Trust me.
“The Green Inferno” (GI) is intelligent enough to pull off social commentary while not bashing it into the viewer’s brainpan. Unlike say, George Romero’s multiple zombie movies. Ugh. Yes. We get it. It’s a fucking mall. People shop and wander around like zombies. Har har har. So clever Mr. Romero. Oh wait. It’s not.
GI makes fun of Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) and shows the danger of fighting for a cause that you really know nothing about. Just sticking your nose in to make a viral video that supposedly “makes a difference” in the world, doesn’t really change much of anything. In fact, it’s all just for show.
And when the main character, Justine (Lorenza Izzo), learns the truth, that what they are doing makes no difference whatsoever, she is in shock. It’s ironic, because she is a well-to-do white college girl who joined a social justice movement and was conned into going to the Amazon to stop a company from destroying the rain forest. During their protest, Justine is held at gunpoint and almost killed. If the guys that organized their protest had their way, she would’ve been shot and made a martyr, not for their cause but for website hits and Twitter trendings(es).
After the startling realization that she really doesn’t know the motives of the two men that are running the social crusade, and that she could’ve easily been murdered for their cause, poor little Justine is sad.
You mean that this was all for show? Yes. Yes it was. And you were going to die to save a piece of land that you only walked on once. You silly girl you.
Oh, but the irony gets better, as the tribe that they were fighting to protect is cannibalistic, and sees their creamy white flesh as delicious lunch. (OK, not ALL of the SJWs on that trip were white. There were a few other ethnicities, but the majority of them were white people sticking their noses in where they don’t belong.)
The dinky cargo plane they flew in was sabotaged by one of the men that organized the trip, and on their way back home, it crashes. A good portion of the SJWs die in the crash. Sometimes, hilariously so. Such as the scene where the girl still strapped into the plane chair lands into a tree, and then in the background while people are freaking out, the chair (and girl) fall out of the tree and she goes SPLAT! on the ground. It was so out of nowhere, that it was funny. The timing was perfect.
At times, “The Green Inferno” is a slapstick comedy with a ton of blood and gore, almost in the same tone as “The Evil Dead.” But it doesn’t carry out the humor antics throughout the film, and gets seriously dark towards the end, so it can’t be labeled as a horror comedy or a cheesy campy film like Evil Dead.
These horrible, self-absorbed college kids quickly learn that they are on their own, that they can’t trust the two men that organized their protest, and that the native tribe will slaughter and eat them, with glee. (They really revel in it. It’s horrifying and glorious. Brutal even.)
There’s one part that had the potential to be as bad as the “Mud Baby” sequence in CH, but it doesn’t go that far. It’s implied, not really shown, and while a little shocking, it’s not as exploitative or torture porny as a CH gets. By toning down some of the sexual abuse shown on the screen, I think it more effectively shows that the cannibals see the college kids as cattle, as food, and not human beings.
I guess the cannibals think that virgin meat tastes better, as the main character turns out to be one, and is given “special” treatment, where they rub her down with their proprietary blend of herbs and spices and make it seem like they’re going to let the men of the tribe have their way with her.
Thankfully, they don’t.
After experiencing the horror of watching her friends (and enemies in the group) get hacked up, eaten alive by ants, or just plain old BBQ’d, the surviving main characters turn on the douche bag that set up their plane crash and leave him to be devoured by cannibals while they make their escape.
Eventually, she encounters the construction crew– the very one that tried to kill her– and gets them to help her get home by faking that she is recording their conversations and streaming it on the Internet.
Once home, Justine realizes that she went through all of that for nothing. While she may have learned a little bit about herself, and what she is capable of doing in order to survive (meaning that she wasn’t as wholesome nor as good of a person as she thought she was), she realizes that nothing on campus or in the world has changed and that people will continue to protest things that they have no business interfering in.
After going through her own personal hell/inferno (sans the plucky psychopomp Virgil) she lies about what happened, labels her dead friends as heroes, and lets people think that she was a brave survivor of a horrible plane crash. She doesn’t tell anyone about what the tribe did, or what the natives are capable of and lets it all go.
So, is “The Green Inferno” over-hyped? Yes. People did get too carried away in their enthusiasm for this film. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the super best totally awesomestests amazing cannibal film evar!!!!111
Is “The Green Inferno” a masterpiece or a menace?
It’s a masterpiece. To be honest, at first I was going to say that it wasn’t. But after thinking about and dissecting it and finding so many different meanings, messages and cultural significance to be garnered from it, I changed my mind. It’s a solid film and I liked it.
“The Green Inferno” is entertaining and has a message. It is gory, it does have cannibals, and naked people and horrible torture scenes, but it’s also smart. It has an intelligent script. There’s something to be taken away from watching it. Yes, that’s right. “The Green Inferno” has value. (And this is coming from someone who finds cannibal films distasteful and exploitative, in the worst possible ways. If you don’t believe me, check out my review of “Cannibal Holocaust.”)
On the surface GI appears to be just another shocksploitation nightmare, but it soon proves to be much, much more than that. So while “The Green Inferno” may have been over-hyped, I still enjoyed it for what it was.
Think of the girl as the over-hyped movie, and the tribesmen that are manhandling her as the horror hounds that over-hyped the movie. They are starving for good horror so much, that they pounce on anything that has even a tiny bit of merit to it. Over-Hyping movies and SJWs are both products of the digital age, so in a way, “The Green Inferno” can be said to represent the type of people who over-hype movies as well as being commentary on the impotent SJW movements. Huh…how about that?
If you go into most films with few expectations, you will enjoy them more. Take them at face value, don’t listen to the people who freak out about every new shiny horror flick the moment they hear about it. See it for yourself. You might find out that they are actually good films, when not held up on pedestals by the masses.