Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hacking a Path Through The Green Inferno

My my, what a complicated world the movie business is. For those not in the know, this Eli Roth film was originally finished in 2013 with a release later that year. However, the God of Film Distribution is a tricky fella, causing the bankruptcy of not one but TWO companies that had originally planned to release. Long story short, Blumhouse would come riding in two years later and this flick that festival-goers have been talking about has finally seen the light of day. So, was it worth the wait? Well...umm...sorta.

Our story revolves around a group of college activists who travel to the Amazon to stop a logging company from decimating a particular swath of  tribal land, only to end up in the bone cages of the very tribe they were trying to save. There they are picked off one by one, and begin internally dissolving after a certain piece of information from their holier-than-thou leader becomes public.

  Written by Eli Roth and Uruguayan filmmaker Guillermo Amoedo, although considering how closely this film follows the same beats as Cannibal Ferox Umberto Lenzi should've gotten at least a Story By credit, The Green Inferno actually manages to avoid the nasty racist and xenophobic streaks that tended to run through even the best of the Italian cannibal cycle it tried to emulate for the most part. The natives aren't just "evil" cannibals picking on the poor lost white people, but simply reacting to a perceived threat (the activist are found by them wearing the yellow jumpsuits of the workers cutting their forest down, so they assume them to be their enemies), adding an almost eco-horror slant to the film.

As far as negatives go, there really aren't many. I will say, considering how balls-out shocking some of the films this one is an ode to are, I'm very surprised by the restraint shown here. It never really goes as far as you think it is, and after seeing a woman vertically skewered in Cannibal Holocaust or the "meat hook brazier" of Cannibal Ferox, it feels almost conservative by comparison. Oh, and some of the gore effects are really terrible. C'mon Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero, you guys have been in special effects for 30+ goddam years and you can't make body parts that don't bounce like rubber?!

So at the end of the day we're left with a film that's just good, not great, and really much more of a respectful love letter than the cannibal film really deserves. I give The Green Inferno 7 out of 10 CGI ants that look hilariously better than the ants in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Oct 11 - The Prowler