At the very least, “Cannibal Holocaust” had something to say about humanity and the cruelty of alleged civilized societies. It also had a lot to say about xenophobia and white privilege. Even “Cannibal Ferox” had something interesting to say. “The Green Inferno” is peak Eli Roth where it has no idea what it wants to say and it bathes itself in disgusting, sadistic, unpleasant, garbage that it never quite rebounds from. Whether it’s stoned cannibals eating a guy, to a prisoner masturbating to calm himself down, “The Green Inferno” is the bottom of the barrel sophomoric nonsense that Eli Roth puts on to film with pride.
New York college student Justine (Lorenza Izzo), a lawyer’s daughter, meets a student activist named Alejandro (Ariel Levy) when he goes on a hunger strike on behalf of underpaid janitors at her college. Smitten with him and his movement, Justine agrees to help Alejandro undertake his next project: to save the Amazon. She soon learns to regret her decision when their plane crashes in the Peruvian jungle and she and the rest of their group are taken captive by a tribe of hungry cannibals. Justine must now figure out how to escape their clutches before they complete their planned ritual female circumcisions.
“The Green Inferno” is dreck, and as someone that is always opened to Eli Roth eventually delivering some kind of entertaining horror title for fans, I am consistently let down. Roth brings along some interesting actors, and has a good idea of what he’s trying to do, but it gets lost in so much nonsense and idiocy. What Roth thinks of as horror amounts to nothing more than juvenile body humor, sadistic violence, and inherent misogyny that is brutally unpleasant. The films Roth aspires toward emulating were never laugh riots, but they were at least unpleasant in a compelling vein.
Roth just drives his film home on sheer unpleasantness and human pain, while also never quite clarifying what he is trying to tell his audience. Are liberals just hollow pretenders looking for an idol? Is activism just a vain search for a purpose and nothing more? Are all foreign civilizations just barbaric and awful? Do we make them awful when we interfere in their ecosystem? Are our own campaigns for activism misguided? Is consumerism really the only way to live? Are we more or less sophisticated than cannibal tribes living in the Amazon? Who knows, really? Roth doesn’t seem to know, either, and it shows in the finale that ends on a shrug more than a big bold wrap up.
As for the cast, they all make due with what Roth supplies, save for Lorenza Izzo whose performance is downright awful. It’s baffling why Roth keeps pushing her front and center, as Izzo is bland, forgettable, and never turns Justine in to a compelling protagonist. “The Green Inferno” is downright trash, and it’d take a miracle—and some heavy alcohol–for me to ever voluntarily see this again. It’s insufferable, unwatchable junk, and I’d be offended to even put it beside Ruggero Deodato’s classic.
Shout Factory delivers the goods for the folks that enjoyed this film, offering up a two-disc “Collector’s Edition.” This is a two disc release with the second disc a 24 track CD soundtrack with Manuel Riveiro’s score for the film. Many of the extras are recycled from the previous release including extensive photo galleries, and a commentary track with director Eli Roth, Producer Nicolas Lopez and stars Lorenza Izzo, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton and Daryl Sabara. The new extras included in this release are “The Green Inferno,” a fifty minute interview with director, producer, and co-writer Eli Roth. Here Roth discusses the filmmaking process, the film’s initial development, location scouting, casting and the overall impact.
It’s a spirited and enthusiastic interview. “Uncivilized Behavior – Acting in “The Green Inferno”” is a thirty four minute series of interviews with Lorenza Izzo, Daryl Sabara, Aaron Burns and Kirby Bliss Blanton. There are fifty eight minutes of HD Behind the Scenes Footage offering up raw, on-set glimpses of Roth and his crew at work. Finally there are new to Blu-Ray bells and whistles like the fifteen minute “Making-Of Featurette,” a minute lone Lorenza Izzo Featurette, a minute long Meet the Villagers Featurette, a minute long Amazon Jungle Featurette, the original Theatrical Trailer, and a host of TV Spots.