With Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno finally hitting UK cinemas next week (on limited release) we thought we’d present our review a little differently, with not one but TWO reviews of the cannibalistic horror film from two horror loving guest reviewers… Check out both reviews below; and if The Green Inferno isn’t showing near you next week, don’t worry – it’s released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 22nd.
Stars: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Sky Ferreira | Written by Eli Roth, Guillermo Amoedo | Directed by Eli Roth
Green Inferno – CON
Review by Scott Clark
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have a love/hate relationship with horror. I love its ingenuity and its ability to ponder the greater mysteries from behind a gory veil, but I’m realistic, I can enjoy entertainment horror when it comes pounding my way, and yet, I have little place in my heart for lazy horror. And that’s just what Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno is.
A group of do-gooders rush to the amazon rainforest in order to disrupt forestry that will destroy a rarely seen tribe of natives. After a series of mishaps and an unfortunate mix-up, the group find themselves at the mercy of a vicious tribe of cannibals. This squandered ode to classic 70’s cannibal films like Cannibal Holocaust is the horror auteur’s latest and perhaps most disappointing feature to date. Taking the tried and tested formula of group of twenty-something’s + adventure = terror and brutal dispatch, Roth seems shamelessly at ease with letting his feature trundle along on the road to mediocrity.
My main issue with The Green Inferno lies in the fact it seems like a glorified excuse to let legendary gore craftsmen Howard Berger and Gregory Nicotero off the leash in a gleefully gory escapade. Make no doubt about it; there are some genius moments of brutality and sedition that will turn the stomachs of the most weathered horror fans. And the scarlet-skinned cannibals of Roth’s jungle nightmare are something to behold- chilling and brutal. But that’s just the problem. Roth makes minimal attempts at backing up his visuals with narrative, style, or substance – which are all forsaken in exchange for what can only be referred to as a gore-coaster.
Saying that there’s an upsetting kind of irony and humour (of the blackest kind) at work here. There are moments, as with all Roth’s films, that will have you staggered on the peak between laughing and grimacing and that’s something few directors can orchestrate: panic-stricken girls having bouts of explosive diarrhoea in cages with their friends, hordes of cannibals with Emo Philips hair doos racing through the jungle. Tension erupts in moments when we think the more likable individuals of the bunch will be fucked up beyond all recognition, but generally dissipates in a cloud of guts and (dare I say) glory. Like Hostel Part 2 this feels like more of the same, and raises a certain question as to Roth’s actual legitimacy as a horror icon. The Green Inferno does however sport one of the most ludicrous yet hilarious and enjoyable cannabis extravaganzas committed to horror, I won’t say anything because I don’t want to ruin one of the more enjoyable aspects of the film, but its shamelessly ridiculously stupid and kind of lovable simply for that.
Maybe I’ve touched on Roth’s particular brand of genius there. Maybe if you ignore the silliness of it all, the black humour and lack of likable character, there’s a fun way to spend an hour and a bit. Then again, maybe not. The Green Inferno is as dumb as its characters and irritating in its lack of flare. What it surrenders in story it attempts to reclaim in sheer break-neck gore-splattered tension.
Though it works to some degree this is an ultimately lackluster project.
Green Inferno – PRO
Review by Andrew McArthur
Eli Roth continues to prove that he is quickly becoming a titan in the horror genre with his first directorial feature film in years, The Green Inferno.
Paying homage to much-missed Cannibal-horror film (see Cannibal Holocaust, Man From Deep River, Eaten Alive!), The Green Inferno follows a group of college students who become stranded in the Amazon after their plane crashes when returning from a successful protest. The survivors soon find themselves imprisoned by a local tribe with a taste for human flesh.
Like all good horror films should be, The Green Inferno is nerve-shreddingly tense, packed with a foreboding atmosphere of dread, and is in equal parts visually grotesque and gorgeous. Whilst this lovingly pays tribute to the cannibal film, Roth breathes a huge amount of originality and dynamism into the subgenre. For example, before crashing in the jungle the establishing narrative events are equally engrossing and original as we see a bunch of passionate students attempt to prevent the destruction of the rainforest. The action in these scenes is slick and Roth amps up the tension even before The Green Inferno‘s main source of horror is revealed.
However, when we do see the students end up imprisoned and feasted on by the tribe, Roth further kicks proceedings up a gear building on the existing suspense and dread, as well as unleashing oozing waves of gore and splatter. In fact, the first moment of cannibalism is truly harrowing in its representation of limb ripping, eye-gouging, and tongue shredding. It is a cracking reminder of the genre’s power to shock, repel and fascinate us and few filmmakers know how to do this as well as Roth. Perhaps even more difficult to watch than the gore is the various attempted escapes which are terrifyingly suspenseful.
Much of the horror from The Green Inferno comes in the fact that this is an enemy that cannot be reasoned with or talked out of their plans – leaving the victims with very slim chances of survival. It really emphasises the old The Hills Have Eyes tagline ‘the lucky ones died first’. Of course, the gruesome blood red paint lashed over their bodies, bizarre rituals and suggestions of female genital mutilation keeps things even nastier.
Whilst settings being picturesque is not normally that important in the horror world, The Green Inferno proves this wrong. The jungle is filled with lush greens and often shot from above (notably in the opening credits) – giving the film a real beauty that masks a sinister edge as viewers will undoubtedly be aware of the horrors that lurk with this beauty.
As always, Roth keeps things from getting truly bleak and morbid by keeping his tongue firmly planted in his cheek (well perhaps not, as the tongues here are being cut out and eaten by cannibals). There’s a great sense of humour pulsing through The Green Inferno: from Sky Ferreira’s pitch-perfect supporting turn to bigger gross-out gags (Ariel Levy’s Alejandro having one last wank before being eaten and Kirby Bliss Blanton’s glamorous Amy deciding to empty her bowels within their cage, much to other prisoner’s horror.)
A diverse cast also keeps proceedings believable and involving with great conviction in the performances. Lorenza Izzo makes a thoroughly likeable lead and does an excellent job conveying the horror of her surroundings. Whilst Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Nicolas Martinez, Matias Lopez, Magda Apanowicz bring life and charisma to the roles of the other potential victims.
The Green Inferno is without doubt Roth’s finest work to date. Shot with masterful suspense and a nerve-shredding atmosphere, Roth has presented a future classic horror that is filled with wonderful shocks, stomach-churning gore and also a huge amount of fun.