Saturday, October 3, 2015

Green Inferno ( 2013 )



GREEN INFERNO Directed By Eli Roth, Starring Ramon Llao  (2013).

Review By Goat Scrote

     I opened my Friday morning with a little slice of jungle hell from Eli Roth. It’s a solid jungle-cannibal genre movie. What I mean to say is that it’s the real thing, not a tribute or a clever post-modern twist on an idea that’s been done to death. It is that very same idea, risen from the grave one more time like Dracula. Technological updates aside, this story would be right at home in a cheap, gritty 1970s/80s Italian production about gut-munching stone-age villagers. “Green Inferno” just has the highest production values of any jungle cannibal movie in history.
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Captain Jack Sparrow drools over some "long pork."
    I enjoy the whole sub-genre, and director Eli Roth obviously digs it too or he wouldn’t have made a movie with such narrow niche appeal. It has been long, so terribly long, since a proper jungle cannibal film has been made. I wonder if he was hoping to bring the genre to a wider modern audience by distilling the essence of every Italian cannibal film into one well-produced movie. That kind of mad science really ought to have worked.


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Screw the box office, Eli is the only audience Eli needs.
     If you’ve ever seen one of these movies before you know the basic plot. A bunch of westerners get lost in the jungle. Soon they run afoul of an entire village which lives like the family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre (minus the power tools). There are many twists and variations on this classic plot, of course. The genre is also notable for providing a vehicle for very harsh social criticism, worked seamlessly into the blood and guts and torture. Green Inferno closely follows this pattern. It is shocking, depraved, harrowing, gut-churning, cynical, morally challenging, all the things a good cannibal movie should be.

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Oh shit, I forgot to pack cannibal repellent.


     So why isn’t that enough? I enjoyed “Green Inferno”, and I feel like I should be raving and evangelizing the movie, but I just don’t feel it. I wasn’t expecting anything more than a jungle torture-fest and I certainly got that. I also liked the ongoing ethical flux of the movie, with right/wrong and hero/villain shifting according to context. The movie is actually pretty smart, and it challenges political-activism-as-fashion among other things. The ending has a sharply pointed jab at the kind of ignorant douchebag “activists” who wear Che Guevara t-shirts. That alone earns the movie all kinds of bonus points, since I believe people wearing Guevara’s face really should be eaten by cannibals.

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     I can think of plenty of problems with the movie. The characters are one-dimensional interchangeable victims whom we care nothing about.  A small bag of marijuana slipped into the food gets a whole village stoned to the point of passing out. The moviemakers wuss out in a climactic genital mutilation scene which could have made the film truly memorable and socially relevant. Far worse complaints can readily be aimed at older genre films which I enjoyed despite their problems. I don’t know why I didn’t get into “Green Inferno” more than I did. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t all that original, either. I’d seen it all before, although it was nice to see it so beautifully filmed with superb gore effects by Jonah Levy and Ozzy Alvarez. If you’re a genre fan I think it’s worth seeing it in the theater, just don’t expect it to take you anywhere you haven’t been before. I’ll certainly watch it again, which is more than I can say for most modern horror films!

SLIGHTLY RECOMMENDED! SEE IT IN THEATERS!

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Pardon me, do you happen to have any Grey Poupon brand sunscreen?

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