Nearly one year ago theaters and horror fans alike were supposed to be treated to Eli Roth's newest horror incarnation The Green Inferno. Due to several financial issues within the production company, the film was delayed almost an entire year. This is one of those films that was hot and heavy out of the gates with advertising, but due to the massive delay, a lot of people have most likely forgotten about it's release. I remember seeing trailers for this film over a year ago in theaters, and being quite excited for it. It wasn't until about two weeks ago that I saw a short TV spot, and thought oh wow that movie still hasn't come out. Several films have endured similar fates. One that comes to mind was Joss Whedon's Cabin In the Woods which was delayed several years. Thankfully the substance of "Cabin In The Woods" was able to save it and create a fan base. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for Eli Roth's odd Cannibal Holocaust satire film The Green Inferno. After over a year of waiting, I was able to finally sit in a local theater to watch the film, and it made me cringe...out of embarrassment.
The Green Inferno is a film that was made almost two years ago, but is just now seeing it's first commercial release. The film was written and directed by Eli Roth, and co-written by Guillermo Amoedo. The film stars Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Kirby Bliss Blanton, and Aaron Burns. The film began shooting in early 2013 and had a 6 million dollar budget. A sequel was also greenlit by the production company but due to financial problems, it is unlikely to see the light of day unless the project finds a new home.
The film begins at a college in New York City as we follow the stunning Lorenza Izzo who plays Justine, a freshman. Despite most of this cast being awkward and amateur, Izzo stands out as a stunning beauty who brings a lot to her role. She has incredibly piercing eyes that the camera focuses on quite a bit. The eyes end up being a big part of her look later in the film when she is covered in white tribal paint. I have a feeling that is part of the reason she was cast in the lead. Sadly she is one of the only interesting characters in the film. The film is riddled with actors and characters that seem poorly written and amateur. Starting with her roommate Kaycee (Sky Ferreira) who is one of the most unlikable characters to ever grace the screen. Not only does she deliver her lines with the enthusiasm of a second year high school senior in detention, but she appears to have just woken up. I'm not sure if they did her make up a certain way to convey this, but she looked like a tired strung out homeless girl. She also delivered her lines with a dialed up obnoxious attitude. At first I thought this was intentional so the audience would be rooting for her to get killed, but it never really leads to anything other than annoyance. As quickly as we are introduced to this bond between two best friends, she disappears from the film and bares no importance. Then we are introduced to a group of incredibly annoying college social warriors who have founded their own environmental group. The group marches on campus and does hunger strikes, often preaching for a cause that goes unnoticed. Justine runs into the group and finds them interesting after meeting a slap happy member of the group named Jonah (Aaron Burns). Jonah asks her to come to a meeting which is where she meets the rest of the group.
The group consists of some of the douchiest, dumbest, and most obnoxious characters imaginable. Some seem to be written this way, while others seem to just act that way. One thing I immediately notice is that a majority of the group seems to have very thick foreign accents, despite them being at a college in America. I actually had to double check and make sure she wasn't attending school in a foreign country because some of these people sounded Spanish, while others sounded French. I'm not sure if that's just supposed to be representative of the melting pot in New York or what, but it comes off like a bunch of amateur actors delivering cheesy English dialogue they seem to struggle with. I would say the film's biggest downfall is the acting and dialogue. This problem is showcased immediately when we meet Alejandro (Ariel Levy) and his girlfriend Kara (Ignacia Allamand) who both deliver their lines like they are reading off of cue cards. To say the dialogue was amateur is an understatement. You can blame the actors for their awkward delivery, especially since English is apparently their second language, but you cannot blame them for the script. I found some of the lines laughable, in scenes that weren't meant for comedy. Anytime Alejandro or Kara spoke...I laughed. I'm not sure what the writer was thinking with these characters, but the vision was not coming out on screen. Needless to say, I was ready to see all of these terrible actors get killed off and it couldn't happen soon enough.
After Justine blindly joins a social warrior cause led by fellow oblivious college kids, she flies to Peru with the group. Once the group arrives in Peru the film starts to pick up and we are introduced to the main storyline. The group of kids is trying to stop part of the rainforest from being destroyed because it will kill off a local tribe. The club shows up to the construction site and attempts to delay this from happening. Without spoiling it, their journey becomes slightly more complicated and they find themselves stranded in the hands of a cannibalistic local tribe. The tribe doesn't speak English and they seem to have fun skinning people alive and putting their heads on posts. Through some visual storytelling the tribes people are made out to be rather terrifying. I was concerned about this film until the moment the tribe came in, then I had a bit of hope. The fear that the people experience seems genuine and you can really feel how overwhelming the whole experience is just by watching on screen. The film does bring some terror onto the screen through these moments of hopelessness. Unfortunately whenever the film starts to get a real scary vibe going, it's completely ruined by bad dialogue or misplaced comedy. At one point there is intense drum music happening, leading you to believe something intense is about to happen, and it's actually just building up to a girl having diarrhea. That's right, there's an orchestral build-up to diarrhea. I would say that is actually symbolic of my feelings on this movie. Lots of epic build up, ready to jump out of your seat, then BOOM! ...diarrhea.
Now one thing everybody wants to know is, is it gory? Eli Roth isn't exactly known for making quality films, but he has always delivered on the gore factor. He became famous because of his association with HOSTEL, so fans of his have come to expect a certain level of violence. I think you won't be disappointed in that aspect, as there is some pretty gut wrenching scenes involving dismemberment and cannibalism. There is some practical effects used early on that provide an extremely visceral scene, which makes for good horror. I also noticed Greg Nicotero's name attached to the film so I'm guessing that was him who helped with that scene. Unfortunately one scene involves some pretty terrible CGI and it totally kills any intensity that death scene had. So it's a mixed bag in terms of effects.
Overall The Green Inferno is a sub-par horror film that reeks of bad student films. The dialogue is poorly written, the acting is awful, and the storytelling really falls flat. However the film does supply a few scary moments and it explores the idea of social media warriors. So if you hate all of those people on the internet preaching and posting petitions, you might dig where this film goes. It's truly a hipster's worst nightmare. It pokes fun at the absurdity of social media campaigns and how easily young minds can be fooled into thinking they are intelligent. I have to give the film some points for being clever in it's choice of victims. Unfortunately for this young mind, I was fooled by the trailers, and I thought this film was actually going to be good.