Friday, October 9, 2015

The Green Inferno

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  The Green Inferno sounds like a terrible superhero name.

The Green Inferno – 2 out of 5

For some reason or another, cannibals were huge with Italian filmmakers back in the 70s and there are tons of exploitation gorefest horror films about them.  Some are good, some are decent and some are kinda bad but one thing they all have in common is some truly fucked up imagery of primitive and bloodthirsty tribes dining on some organic and free range Soylent Green.  The cult classic Cannibal Holocaust came immediately to mind when I heard that Eli Roth decided to do his own throwback to this portion of film history (and, as it turns out, that was the inspiration for him to not only make this film but also become a director) but how does Roth’s vision compare?

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It's like it's the Gathering of the Juggalos...only there's more bathing.

Justine (Lorenza Izzo) is a wide-eyed daughter of a UN lawyer and a college freshman who wants to change the world.  She gets inspired by a local activist named Alejandro (Ariel Levy) and, despite the fact the man is clearly a granola eating tool who isn’t shy about being a dick to her, she saddles up with the guy and the rest of his dormitory warriors out to do good in the real world.  The crew flies out to the middle of the Amazon to stop a company from bulldozing it to the ground and murdering the locals.  However, they soon find themselves alone in the jungle and taken by those local tribes (who look like they are really big fans of Darth Maul) they were trying to help and those locales are hungry…and well-fed, Ramen-basted college kids might be the perfect meal.

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He easily could have been lifted from an 80s pro-wrestling gimmick.

I’m not the biggest fan of Eli Roth.  I really enjoyed his mock trailer in the Grindhouse films and I found him entertaining as the Bear Jew in Inglorious Basterds and as the DJ in Piranha 3D but I just can’t stand the films he writes—and in one case, I even gave it a second chance and still wasn’timpressed.  To me, his writing always feels very messy and his films contain bad dialogue, unfunny comedy, poor character development and introduction, and a major problem with chaotic tonal shifts.  To be honest, The Green Inferno might be the best film he’s made but it still suffers from many of his weaknesses and it stops from being something truly memorable to me.

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Ha ha.  The girl on the left looks like she's in the basket that's on that guy's back.

Like his other films, this feature suffers heavily from really bad dialogue.  The opening of the film almost felt like Roth was daring you to leave the theater as it is painfully clear that he doesn’t know how to write women or even those younger than him.  The characters all come off like the worst stereotypes of millennials you can think of or, even worse, like Roth read a few comments on a random internet thread and felt he “got the gist” of how the youth of today speaks.  When the film makes its long overdue shift from developing its story and its conflict this complaint completely disappears but it still made for a hard first act to sit through.

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And witness the birth of The Green Inferno..this is a superhero film, right?

Roth’s signature dark humor is seen quite a bit in the film and, I will admit, sometimes it worked but for every amusing and charming moment when you see the tribe preparing the human meal like it was nothing more than suburban families by the grill you have to deal with painfully unfunny sequences that really needed to be edited out of the film--most of which involve ill-timed masturbating and diarrhea.  Since these sequences did little to help the film’s tone or character development, it gave the production a feeling that Roth was just fucking around and actively trying to get the MPAA upset with his film or like he was just making up the story as he went along and was trying to come up with more sequences to fill the running length.  I would guess that the latter is probably more accurate than the former because there were many occasion in the plot and especially at the end that felt like Roth was writing on the fly and was just pulling out sequences for the film out of his rear and these scenes really felt like they didn’t need to exist and were just there to keep the film at a respectable running length.

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She's the lead singer in the tribe's Stevie Nick's cover band.

Finally, the film suffers from some truly terrible character development and some uncomfortably bad acting.  Characters all come off like blank slates to be filled in when the story needs them to be a little deeper and are all pretty much introduced with little-to-no-gusto.  Most of the characters just feel like they wander in the story and we will learn about them—even something simple as their names—as the time passes.  Then, as if to mirror how bland and pointless all the characters are, most of the acting seems to match that by having characters who are so bad in their performances that you actively wish their character meets a painful demise (and in one case, they don't die and disappear from most of the story and I found myself cursing Roth's name for not including her on the trip to the Amazon so I could witness her annoying ass dying).  However, I have to say that Levy really did a good job of making you despise him, Izzo was fairly decent as the victim and there was a legit decent and charming character named Jonah (played by Aaron Burs) that was enjoyable and acted well. 

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Balding Beard Guy was pretty good, too.  I'm not entirely sure if his character had
a name so I'm just calling him Balding Beard Guy.

I don’t want to make it sound like I just absolutely hated this film because that’s far from the case.  While I do admit that I didn’t care for it and the inclusion of too many unfunny gags and scenes that felt needlessly included made the desire to fall asleep in the theater overwhelming, this film wasn’t a complete wash.  I already mentioned some of the acting is fairly good but this film also has some really good visuals and the gore effects by Greg Nicotero are incredible—that dude is just a goddamn wizard on the gore effects.

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You'll be fine.  As an actor, you've died on camera in way more undignified ways.

As far as gore flicks are concerned, The Green Inferno is not a bad film but it’s not as memorable as the films Eli Roth is honoring with it.  It wants to be shocking (I don’t believe for a second a lady actually passed out when she saw it like the press machine is claiming) but the death scenes were anything but.  In fact, compared to what you can now regularly seen on another project that Greg Nicotero works on (I’ll give you a hint:  It involves the dead walking), the kills and horrors seen in this film feel incredibly tame and not that really terrifying.  Even with the limits on practical effects during the short reign of the cannibal golden era of the 70s, this film just can’t compete with the truly unsettling imagery that was created and this film ends up feeling like the generic brand off-shoot of those films.  Add in some cringe-worthy dialogue, some questionable acting, a plot that too often feels like it is just wandering around to eat up screen time, a truly awful and terribly acted character that desperately needed to die but wasn't (thank you very much for that, Roth) and unfunny dark comedy gags that miss the mark and feel more juvenile than darkly humorous, you have a feature that does have its moments but not enough of them to make the overall product work for me.

1 comment:

  1. Eli Roth is garbage. He can't make a movie without his pathetic gore fetish.


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