The Green Inferno
Directed by: Eli Roth
Starring: Eli Roth's Wife, some other people
Release Date: September 25, 2015
Run Time: 100 minutes
...It probably sat on the shelf for two years because it’s really good, right?
College student Justine wants to make a difference in the world, a difference that goes beyond a bunch of kids on campus having a hunger strike to get the janitor a raise. Against her father’s wishes, she joins a group of student activists on a journey to the Amazon to save the rain forest like that one episode of South Park. Their master plan? Save an indigenous tribe by chaining themselves to bulldozers and livestreaming it to the Internet. Stop laughing, because it works and they pop the champagne as they fly back home, only for the plane to crash in the middle of buttfuck nowhere in the Peruvian jungle. Then some kids get eaten by cannibals. Notice how long it took me to get to the part where people get eaten? Welcome to The Green Inferno.
Eli Roth gets a lot of shit, and a lot of it deservedly so. I don’t love him or hate him, I have the same opinion of him that I do of Rob Zombie. I really liked his first two movies and it’s been a steady decline since. I appreciate their love of horror and how they have zero shame in it. They don’t make a couple of cheap movies and use the notoriety to move on to make bigger movies, they love horror and that’s what they want to make. I can respect that, but that doesn’t mean I always want to see their movies. I went into The Green Inferno with that mindset. The only expectations I had were that at some point I was going to see someone get ripped apart and eaten.
I won’t lie, I was a little excited about the premise. How often do you see a cannibal movie where they go into a real jungle and film? I’m only 25 and I can’t think of any from my lifetime (feel free to let me know in the comments how much of a fucking idiot I am). I saw a trailer for this back in 2014 (in front of 22 Jump Street of all movies) and thought “this could be fun to see with a large group, I should go see it when it comes out in a couple of months.” Then it never came out thanks to issues with the distributor. Probably not a good sign, but life goes on. I forgot about it until one day I woke up and as if by magic it was in theaters. I roped a friend into going opening night and we were on our merry way. I wasn’t expecting a quality movie, I was expecting a quality theatrical experience. All I really wanted was someone to lose their god damned mind and leave halfway through. I didn’t get that. I got a poorly acted, poorly directed, poorly written, poorly paced piece of boring nonsense.
It takes 45 minutes to get to the jungle. Let’s just start right there. 45 minutes of terrible actors reading terrible lines before they’re even out of New York. Get the fuck out of here, movie. I was hoping to be sick to my stomach by the hour mark, but thirty minutes into it I was halfway through my massive tub of popcorn and begging for someone’s face to be eaten. Remember in the plot summary I mentioned them chaining themselves to construction equipment and then a massive plane crash? Spoilers, those are the best parts of the movie. A plane crash is the best part of a movie with a cannibal tribe of natives that eats privileged white kids. That is astounding.
There are no characters in this movie. There are a handful of interchangeable teenagers, Junie from Spy Kids, and Eli Roth’s wife. None of them matter, none of them have more than one base trait. They are the basest of archetypes, which might work in a slasher but not in a movie where you’re supposed to become heavily invested in them and feel a combination of dread at their impending fates and terror when their times come. The characters have no character, yet we have to spend 45 agonizing minutes with them. It’s like the movie wants you to cheer for their death, right up until the moments where the deaths start happening and it’s very clear you’re supposed to be horrified.
The worst part of the movie is its conflicting tones. It has no idea what it wants to be. If you’re going to put me with a group of scared kids living out the most terrifying moments of their lives, you can’t have someone refer to something as a Scooby Doo plan. What’s that, movie? Someone got his eyeballs and tongue ripped out while he was still alive and then he was hacked into pieces? Cool, well now here’s a girl getting violent diarrhea with the most cartoony sound effects you’ve ever heard. I swear to God it sounded like the scene in Dumb and Dumber when Harry takes a massive shit after drinking all of those laxatives. I’m not going to say which character does it or when or why, but at some point days into them being locked into a cage, murdered, and eaten, one of them starts jerking off. I swear to God this cannibal horror movie has a guy jerking off to relieve stress so he can think clearly. Eat a dick, movie, you can’t have it both ways. These garbage jokes don’t release tension to help you recover from the brutality, instead they undercut any tension and completely take you out of the movie.
In a movie marketed on shock value, nothing shocking happens until about an hour in. Once they (fucking FINALLY) get there, nothing really spectacular happens. The first death is the only good one, and it was posted to the movie’s official Youtube account before the film’s release. Basically what I’m saying is I saw the only good death at home on my laptop before paying 10 bucks for my ticket. The violence is extremely underwhelming and nothing you haven’t seen before. Wow, someone’s eyeballs got ripped out of their head. HAVE YOU YOU EVER SEEN SOMETHING THAT EXTREME? Yeah, on fucking Game of Thrones.
I’m a very squeamish person who doesn’t do well with convincing gore. Nothing in this movie stopped me from shoveling handfuls of popcorn in M&Ms into my stupid face at any point. It feels like a movie from 2003. If this was a decade ago, back when mainstream horror was really in the shits, we’d be talking about how insane this movie is and Eli Roth would be this new name in extreme horror. But it’s not 2003. It’s not Roth’s first movie he made for no money with the guy from Boy Meets World. It’s been over a decade. He’s not a kid, he’s 40. For fuck’s sake, there’s an entire line of “Eli Roth Presents” movies. His name carries so much value that it’s slapped onto other movies just to boost their recognition. While I didn’t outright hate this movie, this product coming from someone with that much clout is flat out unacceptable.
It’s just not a well made film. I fully believe that if the Bear Jew’s name wasn’t on it, it wouldn’t have seen a theatrical release (even if it did take 2 years). The 2 years thing astounds me more than anything. I can’t believe that in all that time nobody took a look at it and said “hey maybe we should cut out this 20 minutes here, or maybe the scene where they stuff her corpse with marijuana before they cook her so they all get high.” The film is a jumbled mess. Everyone is unlikable and nobody can act worth a shit. It’s like an inverse of the Rob Zombie connection I made earlier. Instead of surrounding his wife with great character actors and making her stick out like a sore thumb, Roth surrounds his wife with garbage tier teenage actors (and also Junie from Spy Kids) and she looks like fucking Meryl Streep. The villain (because of course there’s a villain, because who are the REAL cannibals?) is a cartoon character.
The movie plays like it was written by a 14 year old who doesn’t know how the world works. And that’s coming from someone who's entire interaction with the outside world is mumbling at the Taco Bell drive thru and saying "thanks you too" when they tell me to enjoy my meal and yelling at myself the entire drive home. At no point in promoting a movie about cannibalism should you say “social justice warriors” or “Twitter activists” but here we fucking are. Is this movie against fake activism? Is it against real activism? Is it against tearing apart villages and indigenous tribes for natural resources? Then why do those tribesman eat our main characters? Is this commentary on man meddling with nature? Was the 9/11 as an inside job reference really necessary in your silly cannibal movie? What the fuck is with that mid credits scene? Am I gay?
|...but why is the rum gone?|
I went in hoping for a theater experience. The only experience I had was my friend’s reactions. He doesn’t laugh. He bellows like a mighty giant. When that plain crashed and people were getting impaled his laugh echoed throughout the entire theater and made everyone around us laugh nervously while kids died on screen. That was the highlight of the movie for me.
The weird part is, I didn’t really hate it while watching it. It’s not the worst movie I’ve seen this year. It’s not even the worst movie I’ve seen this month (I’m looking at you, the 45 minutes of The Lazarus Effect I watched before deciding to do literally anything else with my day). You know what type of movie this is, and if that’s your thing you should have no problem letting the dumbness flow over you for 100 minutes. And trust me, it’s real fucking dumb. For a movie I had no expectations for I left so disappointed. Sure the practical gore effects were great, but of course they are. That’s the entire crux of the movie. If this move had been the absolute nightmare I was hoping it would be it would have been the highest recommend. I would have let the 45 minutes of banal, insane nonsense from bad actors go. But nothing happens. The best kill in the movie happens right away and then they argue in a cage and get picked off. Oh, and also CGI ants, because why the fuck not.
At the end of the day, it takes almost an hour to get to the jungle and then its an hour of them sitting in cages. It’s propelled by fake controversy and in reality is a poorly written, directed, edited, and acted love letter to a movie I have no affection for. It has bad actors, it’s not scary, it’s not funny, it’s not a satire. I don’t really know what it is. All I know is you get to see one of the Spy Kids’ dickmeat.
|It's not the Spy Kid I was hoping for, but beggars can't be choosers|
If you had any interest in this movie (and how could you not after that last nugget), it’s decent enough to