In The Green Inferno, Eli Roth returns to movie making after a six year absence to pay homage to the Italian cannibal films of the ’70s and ’80s. He reportedly used a real tribe of indigenous people (who had never been photographed before) to star in his movie about a group of students who crash land in the Amazon jungle just in time for lunch. Is it exploitational? Is it wrong to perpetuate the stereotype of indigenous people as savages? I don’t know. Roth says they were shown the cannibal classic Cannibal Holocaust, LOVED IT, and agreed to take part in the movie. And from the trailer, it certainly seems like they were all game for anything Eli Roth could come up with. So, whatever. The movie looks scary as hell. And the makeup looks are spectacular. Watch the trailer below.
Roth never stretches too far into tastelessness, but is as unrelenting as his subgenre demands. Graphic dismemberment, live feasts, ocular attacks, bodies raised on spears through painful orifices, it’s all here. Backed up by the greats at KNB, all of Roth’s slaughter appears painfully real and makes startling impact. The bar for cannibal horror is high and Roth has no problem delivering the goods in a way that will leave viewers stumbling out of the theater. Considering that an entire generation has yet to sample (or even hear about) the Italian cannibal oeuvre, this flick is going to sicken hardened horror fans on release and that’s exactly how it should be.
Like the HOSTEL movies and to a lesser extent CABIN FEVER, the commentary is there for those who wish to find it, but Roth never batters his audience over the head. If you watch horror for a purely visceral experience, THE GREEN INFERNO delivers. It’s a harsh gut-punch of a horror yarn that makes no concessions for unprepared audiences beyond a little well placed humor. Filmed entirely on location in the jungle, the movie feels uncomfortably realistic at all times with the danger the cast and crew experienced seeping out of the screen. While the opening city scenes might be stylishly shot, once the jungle carnage kicks off Roth and his cinematographer favor handheld intimacy that offers little distance or relief from the terror. It’s not a movie for everyone, but for viewers who don’t mind a little danger in the genre fare, THE GREEN INFERNO is an unforgettable endurance test. Roth hasn’t just returned to directing, he’s reminded us why he was labeled one of the new masters of horror only two titles into his career. It’s a more than worthy revival and entry point to the cannibal horror genre that refuses to be shaken off once you’ve seen it.