If simple “political correctness” counts among the things that offend you, then director Eli Roth’s latest midnight horror flick, The Green Inferno, a highly graphic gross-out side-show depicting a savage tribe dismemberment and cannibalism of youthful American high school students, may not be for you.
Set largely in the Amazonian jungle (which the film shoots impressively on location), The Green Inferno follows a group of collegiate activists aimed to protest human rights infractions by faceless, “evil,” oil companies. Among them is beautiful and recently inspired Justine (Lorenza Izzo), an undergrad whose father serves as a United Nations heavy-weight, and who joins a protest group that shortly embarks on a third-world protest mission to bring awareness to human-rights violations. What is seen as a first act victory to their cause, successfully capturing video footage of chaining themselves to mechanical equipment amongst a bulldozed jungle terrain, leads to the real unexpected inciting incident to this film – a crash-land in the heart of unfamiliar and unsafe territory, amongst a very native and very dangerous tribe of Aboriginal people.
With special effects work from The Walking Dead‘s Gregory Nicotero, there is no shortage of or exploitation of queasy moments that will deter most and thrill others.
As expressed earlier, those that find offense with the subject matter of native tribal members being depicted as a very “other” sort of uncivilized people will certainly take issue with the depictions of this movie. Other audiences, those who may count themselves as Roth’s most vociferous scare-savvy fans and ready for gut-spilling fun, will indeed take greater enjoyment here, through sickened groans and watching through fingers. With special effects work from The Walking Dead‘s Gregory Nicotero, there is no shortage of or exploitation of queasy moments that will deter most and thrill others.
Rounding out the rest of the story and cast are mysterious lead activist Alejandro (Ariel Levy), typical hot blonde Amy (Kirby Bliss Blanton), and pot-smoking comedic relief Lars (Daryl Sabara), who each play equally dull and familiar characters to this simple set-up; although they at least fill out each component of the story as is required to a humorous, watchable degree.
For a movie that makes its many unapologetic depictions of un-modernized cultures, gory and grotesque sequences depicting native tribe (who, in all painted skin, piercings, and features, evoke the authenticity of what one could believe to actually be), those looking for some small sliver of redemption will barely find it in it’s final message – that industrialized capitalistic efforts are still responsible for encroaching on the land and living of these people.
The thing that makes The Green Inferno hard to pin down is its curious insight into what being kidnapped and helpless to another’s total will-subjugating is as any person could be. While the impressively made The Green Inferno is a stirringly scary gross-out film, it’s dumb and unstirring story should be one that is stepped to with caution.
The Green Inferno is in theaters Friday.