Review by Nathan Miller
Cannibalism is a grotesque act capable of turning people's stomachs at the sheer thought of it. Eli Roth is known for gore and cringe worthy torture in his movies, so the prospect of these special effects being put to use in a cannibalistic nature is haunting. The Green Inferno does deliver the head turning moments a movie goer would expect, but it does not have the script or plot to accompany it. There were a lot of cringe worthy moments that had nothing to do with blood and gore as the writing was horrendous all on its own. The entire film is not terrible, but there is plenty to dissect and criticize. Let's dig a littler deeper as to what were the pros and cons of this film.
The film centers around college freshman, Justine, who joins a social activism group on her campus. After the group successfully influences the school board to give their janitors health benefits, the leader Alejandro crafts a plan that will slingshot his activist group into the headlines. The plan is to stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the extinction of ancient native tribes by live streaming their protest inside the demolition zone. After the protest is successful, their plane back home crashes in the forest. The survivors of the crash are then captured by the native tribe for unfathomable reasons.
The tribespeople were fantastically executed. Their sheer ferocity was captured perfectly where I believed this tribe and their customs could be real. These naive yet sufficient killers were the most intriguing part of the film. The portrayal indicates to me the amount of research and care that was given for these tribespeople. Although the indigenous people were the villains of the film, they were the saving grace of it. The rituals and overall mentality of these tribespeople were spot on. As for blood and gore, the special effects were eye gougingly close to being too realistic. My stomach is not easily turned by gruesome executions, but certain murders were pushing it even for me. Everyone in this film died in an unique way, so there is a variety to the gore if that floats your boat. The aesthetics and atmosphere captured in the Amazon rainforest were as grand as its namesake. The cinematography locked in on the key moments needed and made the film easier to watch on many occasions.
Justine's roommate was undeniably annoying, and I would not have listened to her either. The dialogue in this film was atrocious. The only time it was bearable was when Justine had a conversation with her father over lunch. Every other conversation between the activists were poorly executed as everyone seemed too full of themselves or determined to make a bad joke. If you were paying attention to the beginning of the film, there is a lot of "foreshadowing" or out right acknowledgements as to what the viewer should expect. The vaginal circumcision, deadly ants, and etc were all mentioned early on in the film. Nothing came as a surprise when these depictions occurred because the film was too telling with its foreshadowing. The film was just predictable and followed a format most horror fans would know. The Green Inferno is a homage to cult classic cannibal films made in the 70's that pushed the boundaries of what was expected back then, yet the direction chosen here was nothing out of the ordinary even with its superb special effects.
The ending ruined the film for me. The open ended approach that made it possible for a sequel was strange to me. The potential for a solid finish was completely ruined by circumstances that should have been left on the drawing board. It cheated the audience out of the death that was truly needed in order to save this film. Everyone who watched or watches this film will have this desire in the back of their head, yet this final death is denied to make room for a sequel that may never happen. The sinner needed to be punished as the film stated with the sighting of a specific animal. Lastly, the lack of trauma showcased in the end was also puzzling. The amount of horrible events that had occurred should have resulted in very different mental state of a character towards the end.
If you want blood and gore, The Green Inferno has you covered. Its depiction of a cannibalistic tribe was well executed, but the dialogue diminished its potential right from the beginning. The build up to a potential sequel ruined the closure needed for this film to feel complete. If horror special effects that are gloriously brutal interest you, it is possible to feel satisfied from a matinee showing.