Review: THE GREEN INFERNO (2015) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Review: THE GREEN INFERNO (2015)

Eli Roth's attempt to revive the cannibalism genre has all the necessary gore and violence, but the movie itself is pretty much an average horror flick.

In 2003, then-unknown director Eli Roth made headlines with his acclaimed feature debut CABIN FEVER. It was a grisly, yet entertaining tribute to the '70s and '80s low-budget horror classics such as THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974) and THE EVIL DEAD (1981). Then came HOSTEL in 2006, which often cited as one of the best horror movies in the "torture porn" genre. But a year after, Roth's immediate sequel of HOSTEL: PART II failed to replicate the same success of the first movie. THE GREEN INFERNO is supposed to be Roth's long-awaited comeback to the director's chair since HOSTEL: PART II. Already screened two years ago in the Midnight Madness at the Toronto Film Festival, the movie is originally slated for release last September. However, it was postponed indefinitely due to a disagreement over publicity funding between distributor Open Road and financier Worldview Entertainment. Fast-forward to this year, THE GREEN INFERNO finally sees the light of day. I was actually looking forward for this movie, since THE GREEN INFERNO is said to be inspired from Ruggero Deodato's 1980 exploitation classic CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. While it's nice to see the long-forgotten cannibalism genre making a return, THE GREEN INFERNO doesn't turns out as good as I thought.


The movie follows Justine (Lorenza Izzo), a college freshman who gets involved with a group of student activists led by the no-nonsense Alejandro (Ariel Levy). After making a bad impression in the first meeting, Justine makes amends by proving her worth in Alejandro's cause to save the Peruvian Amazon from being demolished. At the beginning, things are going well as planned. Unfortunately, they are somehow unlucky when their plane suffered from malfunction and crashes deep down into the forest. Justine and the remaining survivors are subsequently captured by a group of cannibals, and brought back into their village.


Like his previous directorial efforts, Eli Roth takes his time to establish the characters and setting. While some viewers might feel it's draggy to get to the point, I personally thought the plot structure during the first act is told in an efficient manner.

However, it's understandable that many horror fans -- specifically gorehounds -- are more interested in looking forward to Roth's signature brand of explicit gore and graphic violence. Well, the good news is, he doesn't disappoint in the effects department. With an intriguing mix of mostly practical effects and CGI, the gore moments involving numerous graphic deaths and disembowelments are vividly displayed. Even though some of the more gory scenes are heavily censored during the press screening I saw in GSC Mid Valley, I still found the violence is tense and uncomfortable. Antonio Quercia's crisp cinematography is equally praiseworthy, particularly on the bird's-eye view of the rainforest setting.

As the leading actress of the movie, Lorenza Izzo is likable enough to make us care whether she will make it to the end or not. Aaron Burns and Daryl Sabara are both effective as the movie's comic relief. Ariel Levy delivers a fine performance as the activist leader Alejandro, especially after he begins to show the true colour of his character.


The dramatic plane crash sequence, and the queasy -- albeit censored -- moment where one of the unfortunate victims ended up being gored by the cannibals to be cooked for "meal".


While Roth gets the first act on the right course, his subsequent storyline during the second half of the movie is sadly uneven. Even though Roth is sourcing CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST as his main inspiration, it's kind of baffling he doesn't go all-out with the cannibalism genre. Instead, he seems to be restraining himself by adding a dash of humour (such as the scene where one of the girls suffered from diarrhea) and -- believe it or not -- unexpected sympathy from one of the cannibal characters. Such approach did work in CABIN FEVER and HOSTEL, but a watered-down version of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST? It just doesn't feel right, especially coming from a director like Eli Roth. If that's not enough, the story gets more disappointing with a surprisingly anticlimactic conclusion. Even worse, it's a conclusion that leads to an unnecessary sequel. Like it or not, the sequel is already planned under the title of BEYOND THE GREEN INFERNO.


For all the highly-publicised controversy, THE GREEN INFERNO doesn't offer anything new to the cannibalism genre. Sure, it has its few moments but not good enough to make a lasting impression.

* This review is written courtesy from GSC press screening *

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