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Green Inferno, The

Universal // R // January 5, 2016
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted December 29, 2015 | E-mail the Author
The Green Inferno:
Nothing gets horror fans more lathered up than a new movie from Eli Roth or Rob Zombie, which is to say those directors move hype-meter needles as a matter of course. While Zombie's new killer sleazebag opus 31 struggles to get an R-rating, (hype-hype) The Green Inferno, (2013) Roth's most recent significant film took over two years to find some form of widespread release, (It opened in 1500 theaters October 2015, but lasted only 6 weeks. Now, there's this Blu-ray.) Was the film simply too shocking for most distributors? Step up and see ...

The Green Inferno reps Roth's homage to Italian Cannibal movies which scarred his (and every other horror fans') psyche. While Roth's film is fairly slavish to the gut-munching template, something's missing, and it isn't just animal cruelty. But first, the plot: Earnest Justine (Lorenza Izzo) hangs out with her bitchy, entitled friend Kaycee (Sky Ferreira) on a college campus overrun with bleeding-heart liberal protestors, most of whom seemingly want to get in each other's pants as a nice byproduct of activism. Sucked in by sexy idealism, Justine soon finds herself in a prop-plane heading to the Amazon to protect villagers from bulldozers. In a massive surprise turn of events, things don't exactly go as planned, which means, you guessed it, our protestors [Spoiler Alert] get captured and eaten by cannibals.

Heavy-handed melodrama constitutes Roth's opening act: "you must SHAME them" a protest leader exhorts his followers, as the way to get African tribes to give up undesirable customs. It's as succinct an expression of Roth's purported view of naive activism, and his sole salvo at the notion of a theme. (Which is not to say films such as Deodato's splatterpiece Cannibal Holocaust had anything but placeholder themes either.) No, Roth is here to get his characters from point A to point B, from alive to eaten, while somehow forgetting those earlier films also possessed the all-important point C, also known as Sleazeville.

A truly harrowing plane crash finds Roth masterfully cranking tension, revealing by the 45-minute mark hints of what's missing. His cast of Millenials is too professional, too relaxed, his set-up too smart, too slick, and the plane-crash too thrilling. So far, this movie is fun and enjoyable, the exact opposite of what I want from a Cannibal Movie. I want grease, I want convincingly deranged, dangerous characters. I want my protagonists to be at least in part evil, impossible to identify with scumbags. I want to feel the Roth's crew was in actual danger. These elements are stripped like huge trees from the Cannibal Movie landscape. Our protagonists, albeit misguided, are pretty much good-hearted innocents without much personality. Innocents getting slaughtered lack the moral complexity and ambiguity inherent in earlier Cannibal Movies.

Is it brutal? You bet, certainly on a par with Holocaust or Ferox, though lacking the leering eye employed by those earlier features. Nonetheless, folks are efficiently butchered, dismembered, dressed, cooked and eaten. Guts are munched as well, but somehow shots of roasted torsos lovingly carved and relished make it all the more real and disgusting. The effects are practical, realistic and ferocious. The cannibals, mocking and mysterious. Roth thankfully (and in accordance with the law) takes a pass on killing real animals on screen, which, perversely removes some of the 'anything can happen' power of earlier movies. (If a director's going to kill animals for the sake of a shot, who knows what else he'll do?) I'm glad there's no real killing, but sad that sense of real danger is gone. Roth has crafted a clockwork Cannibal Movie short on insanity and that old forbidden feeling. Fantastic gore and exhilarating set-pieces mark The Green Inferno as a fun, brutal rollercoaster ride, but sadly not the descent into hell we'd hoped for. Is it worth multiple viewings? Rent It and see.


I used to foolishly explain to Mike Clark (Movie Madness) that I liked Cannibal Movies for the scenery. This 2.40:1 ratio, 1080p High Definition presentation highlights that scenery with stunning sharpness and clarity in opening scenes. Fine detail levels revealed in the forest canopy, as well as when, say, someone's throat is suddenly slit, are exemplary. A super-crisp image accompanies finely detailed, deep black levels and rich, naturalistic, yet eye-popping colors. I can't find anything negative to say about the image, it's the best any Cannibal Movie has looked.

English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio matches image quality, although I suppose they might have sprung for a 7.1 mix. Nonetheless, find here superior clarity, dynamic range and dimensionality. Certain scenes, such as the plane crash or the introduction of Cannibals in a next-gen frenzy are truly immersive. Intense scenes of violence and screaming are jacked up disproportionately from general dialog, all the better to scare you but not great if you need to ride the remote in a small apartment, but for an overall great audio environment, this is my only complaint.

An oddly subdued, corporate-logo-style menu screen reveals few extras, while making this look a bit like a straight-to-Redbox edition. English SDH and French Subtitles get the party started, while a Digital HD Download Code will keep you watching gore wherever you go! A Photo Gallery and Commentary Track are the only real extras in this single-disc edition. The commentary track features Roth, producer Nicolas Lopez, and stars Lorenza Izzo, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton, and Daryl Sabara. Sabara, incidentally, is far too recognizable to be in a Cannibal Movie. The track is lively, fun, funny, wide-ranging and also scene-specific. It's well worth a listen.

Final Thoughts:
Fantastic gore and exhilarating set-pieces mark The Green Inferno as a fun, brutal rollercoaster ride. Little in the way of moral ambiguity or true Euro-sleaze removes the sense of real danger inherent in earlier cannibal movies, meaning this Inferno is ultimately not the descent into hell we'd hoped for. Is it worth multiple viewings? If you like such movies, definitely Rent It and see.

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