The Green Inferno is a weak homage to cannibal horror

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 25, 2015

By Steve Newton

If you were a horror fan in the eighties you were no doubt aware of the cannibal exploitation genre, which was best exemplified by Italian director Ruggero Deodata’s Cannibal Holocaust. That 1980 gore epic was extremely graphic for its time, so realistically graphic, in fact, that at one point Deodata was charged with the onscreen murders of four actors portraying missing filmmakers in the pseudo-documentary work.

Director Eli Roth was obviously hugely inspired by Cannibal Holocaust, because he dedicated his new cannibal horror film, The Green Inferno, to Deodata, and copied his idea of incorporating real indigenous tribes into the shoot. But if he was attempting to deliver similar social commentary–about the real or perceived differences between the “civilized” and the “uncivilized”–he should have at least packaged it in a flick worth seeing.

Beautiful Lorenza Izzo (Roth’s wife) stars as an idealistic New York City college student who comes under the influence of a hunky campus activist (Ariel Levy) who is organizing a group trip to Peru to protest the destruction of the rainforest. The plan is to confront the bulldozing work crews–and their gun-toting militia–and live-stream footage to the internet, causing global outrage. But when the activists head home after successfully pulling off the stunt their small plane crashes in the jungle, and they’re either killed on the spot with arrows or taken captive by the same natives they’d just risked their lives to protect.

Around this time Roth reverts to the gruesome setpieces he utilized to much stronger effect in his 2005 torture-porn gamechanger Hostel. He hands things over to the makeup-FX team at KNB-EFX, who ramp up the nastiness by showing the chubbiest captive being held down and eaten alive–with choice portions from various parts of his head lopped off and devoured.

The rest of the film documents the captives’ efforts to avoid becoming the next lunch, but if you’ve seen Roth’s other works you know their chances aren’t that great. It’s a total shame that this time around the celebrated fearmonger was more concerned with bodily functions and corny jokes than with generating any worthy scares.

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