A film that’s been surrounded by controversy since it was announced, Eli Roth’s Green Inferno has finally been released. Was it worth the wait? Does it live up to the hype and controversy?
As I’m sure most of you know by now, the plot deals with college activists who journey to the Amazon to protest a construction project that will wipe out a native tribe. A plane crash results in them then being captured, tortured and eaten by that very tribe. Who will survive and what will be left of them?
The film is a homage to the Italian cannibal films of the 70s. It was intended to be a politically incorrect gorefest. And almost immediately the controversy started. Would it have the original’s racist portrayals of the natives? The real life animal killings? Over the top violence?
And then it’s release was canceled due to financial issues on the part of the distributor the controversy grew even wilder. It had been pulled because it was too offensive or so awful it was unreleasable depending on who you listened to.
So finally it’s on the screen and available for judgment, in my case as the Friday midnight film at the 2015 Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival. It drew the largest crowd of the night and they expected much. They were disappointed.
The film has been sold mostly on it’s gore, and there is a lot of death and carnage, but only one really over the top killing, and it’s the first one which makes the rest look even weaker. After seeing somebody’s eyes gouged out, tongue sliced off, limbs cut off one by one before his head is slowly cut from his body most anything else is going to look tame. Rather than try to top it Roth switches gears and raises the specter of female genital mutilation being performed on the group’s women as his main source of dread. Yes more people die and yes there’s more blood, but nothing close to the first killing. As a gorefest, it fails badly. The effects themselves are excellent but there’s simply not enough of them to justify the hype.
The threat of genital mutilation does build some suspense and potential gross out factor and I suppose is a trade off for all the castration scenes in the original films. It also seems to be a replacement for the rapes that were also common in them. Unfortunately it’s badly over played and the ceremony leading up to it stops being suspenseful and just drags to the point that they could re-title the film The Groin Inferno.
One place Green Inferno does surpass the originals however is racism. Now we expect the tribe will be portrayed as a bunch of barely human savages. And in the likes of Cannibal Holocaust or Cannibal Ferox there were plenty of barely human whites to balance it off, leaving you to decide who was really the most savage. Here however there are no white folk committing atrocities. The students are there to legitimately help. Even their organizers, who are scumbags, are just profiting off the situation, not killing or raping anyone. And in a twist, they are Latinos not Caucasians, the only one of the white students who’s portrayed as a bitch is the one sleeping with Alejandro. It may be a coincidence but it basically breaks down into white folk good, everyone else bad.
The film steals it’s ending from Cannibal Ferox and it’s title is the original title of Cannibal Holocaust and it’s derivative from one end to the other. All it has going for it is one nasty death and a well shot plane crash. The rest is junk.