The Green Inferno

Eli Roth Takes on the Cannibal Genre

The Green Inferno

Eli Roth is a director that seems like he thinks that he is more talented then what he can actually put on screen. Every movie of his that I’ve seen is a wink and and a smile, and it seems like Roth is like “Yo, bro, isn’t this cool?” It’s kinda like Quentin Tarantino, but without the substance that Tarantino brings to the table.

I bring up Tarantino for a reason, since the two seem like friends, and Tarantino has both produced Roth the director’s movies, and has directed Roth the actor. I could only hope that Eli Roth has learned from this partnership, but going by The Green Inferno he may have learned all the wrong lessons.

The Green Inferno is a callback to that special time where movies were okay with making it seem like every uncivilized tribe in a jungle is hungry for some American flesh. The most famous of these cannibal movies is Cannibal Holocaust, which has become a cult classic, and is really not that bad of a movie. The Green Inferno is not Cannibal Holocaust. Unfortunately, The Green Inferno is also not as so-bad-its-good as Roth’s other films such as Cabin in the Woods or the first two Hostel films.

Writing: “An Eli Roth Film”

Eli Roth writes movies like someone who throws a bunch of things against a wall and hopes that something sticks. His sense of humor is juvenile and his horror is pretty unsubtle. Stay classy, Roth!

The Green Inferno has tarantulas near penises and people spending “alone time” in a cage to “relive stress” or whatever, isn’t that funny, Bro? People die in humiliating ways, and it may be played for laughs or something. Characters are totally not racist on purpose, but then the movie makes the foreigners look scary and ready to kill the characters. There is a plot twist that is both predictable and yet is unneeded and is only there to try to bring The Green Inferno closer to Cannibal Holocaust levels of “boy aren’t these main characters terrible people?” It’s frustrating and makes it hard to sit through. Nothing works and nothing makes sense.

It’s also literal exploitation film making. One of the talking points of the movie pre-release was that the cannibals were actual tribesmen from the Amazon. I spent the movie wondering if these people knew what they were portraying. This was the creepiest part of the movie.

Conclusion: I don’t know what I’m supposed to take from this movie. On one hand, it seems like I’m supposed to root for the rainforest to be razed to the ground so cannibals can’t eat American college students, or some other thing. Wildly dumb, wildly inconsistent, wildly offensive. I can’t. I’m done.

Score: 2/10

Story: “Cannibal Holocaust without the teeth.”

So, The Green Inferno is another entry into what I’m going to call “Eli Roth Presents Terrible Americans Being Killed” genre; or “Eli Roth’s Entire Filmography.” A bunch of pretty terrible college student hippies/activists/militia travel from their comfortable rich, first world all-American college to Peru to stop the bulldozing of the Amazon. The college students use live streaming to show that the developers are destroying the Amazon, showing the “horrors” of “civilized culture.” Of course, on their way back, their plane crashes and the college students find themselves face to face with “uncivilized” cannibals who want nothing more than to treat these co-eds as cattle in every sense of the word.

Cannibal Holocaust is well remembered not for its violence, although it is pretty violent. Animals are butchered on screen (actually butchered on screen), and for its time the gore is pretty realistic. Cannibal Holocaust is more well-known as a movie where the main characters, the supposed “civilized” people, are worse than the cannibals who are just acting the way they’ve been raised. I feel like Eli Roth was trying to go for the same thing, but is not quite talented enough to do this justice. The first 40 minutes (of, like, a 100 minute runtime) is spent showing how “terrible” these elitist, entitled activists are, but that still falls flat. Only one character is really terrible in that over-the-top, Saturday morning cartoon character.

In the end it’s just an excuse to show some gore!

Action: “Tame? Strangely, yeah.”

I said earlier that Eli Roth has taken the worst lessons from his time with Quentin Tarantino. This movie has about 30 minutes of talking about the world’s problems and how activists can do things to change the world. Tarantino uses dialogue to build tension, and it seems like Roth uses dialogue to make you care about the characters, but then spends this character development making you want to see these characters die. I get it, this is a horror trope; but honestly, when I watch a Friday the 13th movie, things start happening right away.

People die in this movie, and blood flows; but not that much. There is some weird stuff that happens like the threat of genital mutilation. None of this is really shown, and when gore is shown, obvious special effects are obvious. There is really only one scene of gore that is shown “in all of its glory.”

In his previous films, Roth has shown an imagination in his gore; that is honestly gone from The Green Inferno. There is nothing in this movie that will stick with me like the character shaving off skin from her leg from Cabin Fever or the literal blood bath from Hostel: Part 2. So, there should be a story that I will remember, like the story from the also relatively tame Knock Knock, which I think is the best Eli Roth movie and the most intense movie he has made; there are only like three or four characters and a really low body count. The Green Inferno has no tension or even really anything to make me feel really uncomfortable.

The Green Inferno has some moments, on the other hand, has plenty of moments where it is pretty funny. Not on purpose, though. These characters act unlike any humans I’ve ever seen or known. I don’t know, I was probably laughing more out of frustration than anything. Most of the frustration comes from the script.

Writing: “An Eli Roth Film”

Eli Roth writes movies like someone who throws a bunch of things against a wall and hopes that something sticks. His sense of humor is juvenile and his horror is pretty unsubtle. Stay classy, Roth!

The Green Inferno has tarantulas near penises and people spending “alone time” in a cage to “relive stress” or whatever, isn’t that funny, bro? People die in humiliating ways, and it may be played for laughs or something. Characters are totally not racist on purpose, but then the movie makes the foreigners look scary and ready to kill the characters. There is a plot twist that is both predictable and yet is unneeded and is only there to try to bring The Green Inferno closer to Cannibal Holocaust levels of “boy aren’t these main characters terrible people?” It’s frustrating and makes it hard to sit through. Nothing works and nothing makes sense.

It’s also literal exploitation film making. One of the talking points of the movie pre-release was that the cannibals were actual tribesmen from the Amazon. I spent the movie wondering if these people knew what they were portraying. This was the creepiest part of the movie.

Conclusion: I don’t know what I’m supposed to take from this movie. On one hand, it seems like I’m supposed to root for the rainforest to be razed to the ground so cannibals can’t eat American college students, or some other thing. Wildly dumb, wildly inconsistent, wildly offensive. I can’t. I’m done.

Score: 2/10

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Jonathan Thornburg

Welcome to my world where I share my experiences and my opinions on movies, games, and all sorts of other things that tickles my fancy. I hope you want to join my little community and interact with me and others in the community! 

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