It's been a long time since horror maestro Eli Roth has directed a movie, 2007 to be exact, with the sequel "Hostel 2". His new film "The Green Inferno" is only his 4th feature and it almost didn't see the light of day as it took over two years to find distribution. It had a brief theatrical run in the summer of 2015 and took in about $7 million on a budget of about 6.
Eli is a special kind of filmmaker whose films are events to behold. The classic cult film director. "The Green Inferno" pays tribute to his favorite film "Cannibal Holocaust" a 1980 film by Ruggero Deodato, along with several other films about jungle cannibals. The story here involves a group of college activists protesting the destruction of the Amazon rainforests and the killing of its indigenous people. Our female protagonist is Justine, played by non-other than Eli's new wife Lorenza Izzo. She is a college freshman who is drawn into a student activist group led by the charismatic Alejandro. The group boards a plane for the Amazon with a plan to stream their protest online to bring more attention to the plight of locals. Unknown to Justine she is being used as a pawn to further their cause because her father is a politician. The protest is successful but their celebration is short-lived as their small plane has engine trouble and goes down in the Peruvian jungle. The crash was is pretty brutal and intense. A good tip if you actually survive a plane crash would be to please watch out for the propeller. In a short time, the survivors are then taken hostage by a group of red-skinned tribesmen.
Although the film doesn't feel at all slow-paced, we don't end up meeting the natives until about 45 minutes in. Of course, these people have a taste for human flesh and the first person on the butcher block is the fat guy. We are then treated to some of Eli Roth's famous ultra gore. Although there are equal parts horror and humor. The humor goes to some ridiculous places that really play to Roth's fans. The remaining survivors are kept in a bamboo cage and the women are given a once-over by the high priestess. Justine is found out to be a virgin (Ha!) and is scheduled for ritual genital mutilation. This was foreshadowed in a class lecture at the beginning of the film. The dwindling group must come up with a plan to escape but are being watched 24/7. They are able to distract the guard with a cell phone and one of the girls escapes never to be seen again (in one piece anyway). Then there is the human pot brownie and their final plan to escape. Do stoned cannibals get the munchies? Obviously, Justine is the final girl and manages to escape and make it back home. She tells everybody that the natives were not cannibals at all and they were very caring and helpful, which is the same ending as the 1981 film "Cannibal Ferox", which is itself a knockoff of "Cannibal Holocaust". Justine could see humanity in the tribes' people, she bonded with a little girl that eventually helped her escape. The movie is crazy and ridiculous but that is why you see an Eli Roth film, he's not afraid to go there, and good or bad his films always elicit a response.
In a bit of no so coincidental scheduling Eli's 5th film "Knock, Knock" was released via on-demand at about the same time that "The Green Inferno" was in theatres. Look for that review coming soon.