Eli Roth’s languishing cannibal flick, “The Green Inferno” has made it to Blu-ray after a short release last fall and I got around to watching it last night. As some of you may know, this is his ode to the cannibal movies of the 1970s and ‘80s, especially the cult classic, “Cannibal Holocaust.” So I’m approaching this movie with that in mind. If you haven’t seen “Cannibal Holocaust,” do so, otherwise you won’t have much to compare this to and you’re missing out on one of the biggest inspirations to Roth’s latest movie.
In Ruggero Deodato’s 1980 “Cannibal Holocaust” a crew set off into the Amazon to study cannibal tribes and are never seen again, a subsequent rescue mission turns up their tapes and what they reveal are pretty horrendous. That documentary was to be called “The Green Inferno.” So Roth borrows the film within the film’s title and rolls with his own social commentary, a focal point of “Cannibal Holocaust.”
This time, Roth packages the staged narrative from “Cannibal Holocaust” along with an updated “save the rainforest” mission. Instead of a film crew setting out to record their own version of cannibal tribes, it is students setting out to stop deforestation in Peru, but there’s more to their trip than all of them know.
Obviously, cannibals are involved again and these ones are bit more ruthless than the Ya̧nomamö from “Cannibal Holocaust.” If you have seen Roth’s movies, you know what you’re in for on the blood and gore scale and in that department he does not disappoint. A lot of dismemberment, plenty of blood and entrails.
The story gets off to a slow start, the characters -aside from the main character, Justine (Lorenza Izzo)- are either unlikable or disposable, and there was only one truly shocking moment in the film. “Cannibal Holocaust” still stands the test of time and though that classic was filmed completely different, and took a different social commentary route, “The Green Inferno” tried to do its best to be an updated addition to the cannibal film sub-genre of horror. On that level, it succeeds but it doesn’t hold a candle to what “Cannibal Holocaust” still is: a cult classic.
I’m not a big Roth fan, I haven’t seen anything from him that has really wow’ed me. His torture porn movies are consumable, but ultimately not really my thing. So if you feel like I do, you may sit this one out.
On the other hand, if you like Roth’s movies, give it a go. If you love “Cannibal Holocaust,” I’d recommend giving it a go as well, but just know that while you’re getting a bit of worship for that movie, “The Green Inferno” is its own and it merely borrows a bit from “Cannibal Holocaust.” It isn’t as shocking and it’s much more conventional film making which removes the horrific charm of the classic that inspired it.