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Movie Review: The Green Inferno (TIFF 2013)

Movie The Green Inferno (TIFF 2013)
09.09.2013by: Chris Bumbray
7 10

PLOT: A group of college activists travel deep into the Peruvian jungle to try and save a lost tribe's habitat. When their plane crashes, the students find themselves at the mercy of the tribe, who- unbeknownst to them- are a pack of murderous cannibals.

REVIEW: Let's get one thing straight, THE GREEN INFERNO is crazy violent. Perhaps abhorrently so. Obviously, director Eli Roth- his first movie as a director since HOSTEL 2- set out to make a modern CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, and that's exactly what he's done. If you thought the HOSTEL movies were torture porn, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

The violence in THE GREEN INFERNO is gruesome enough that the more weak stomached of you will no doubt be reaching for your barf bags. There's spearings, people being skinned alive, people being eaten alive, and much talk about genital mutilation. It's enough to make you woozy. However, if that sounds like I'm complaining, rest assured I'm not.

Fact is, I went into GREEN INFERNO knowing just what to expect. I've seen CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, and I appreciate what Roth is trying to do here. While it's shocking, there's something nonetheless appealing in what I'd classify as “endurance cinema” where the goal isn't necessarily how much you like the film, but rather how much you can take. Making it through all the kills, which get progressively worse and worse, takes a certain stamina, and making it to the end credits is some kind of victory. To me, that almost puts it in another bracket other than torture porn, as the onslaught of violence and maimings is so constant it's almost funny, in a dark, dark way.

In terms of displaying carnage and violence, this fits right in with the rest of Roth's depraved filmography (again, that's not intended as an insult, Roth seems to revel in depravity). My main complaints with THE GREEN INFERNO have to do with what happens before and after the massacres. It seemingly takes forever for the students to get taken by the tribe, and what happens in this first part of the movie is pretty standard. There's the quintessential “nice” girl, the privileged daughter of a UN delegate, played by Lorenza Izzo. Like her co-stars Ariel Levy (who plays the charismatic head of the student activists) and Nicolas Martinez, Izzo was in Roth's production, AFTERSHOCK. All three of them are likable, but it takes forever for the movie to get going. I did, however, appreciate Daryl Sabara (SPY KIDS, WORLD'S GREATEST DAD) as the comic relief stoner. Again, it's an archetypal role, but he's fun.

In order to avoid diving too deep into spoilers, I won't say anything about what underwhelmed me about the ending other than that it has a last minute reversal that comes out of nowhere, and feels phony, and inexplicably dumb. Then again, Roth is already planning a sequel, so I guess that explains that.

For sure, THE GREEN INFERNO is not for every taste. You have to have a strong stomach to get through it, and if you by chance you don't like gore than obviously you should stay far away from this. But, if you want an absolutely brutal experience that's tough to endure, just like CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, this is probably the movie for you.

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