Monday, November 2, 2015

The Green Inferno


   Director Eli Roth has a big reputation for making extremely gory movies, and the prospect of him tackling the cannibal genre tickled me pink. Especially since Cannibal Holocaust is one of his favorite movies, and probably one of the most disturbing and notorious cannibal movies ever made. How could this possibly go wrong? Right? Well, lemme just say right now I enjoyed The Green Inferno. I thought it was alright. Is it great? Not really. It's kinda silly to be honest. It's little more than a soft-pedaled intro into what's usually a much bloodier genre. Newcomers to cannibal flicks might enjoy it a lot more than veterans would. But, when all is said and done it's not a bad movie. Just an underwhelming one.

  There's maybe one exceptionally gory scene in the whole movie. A movie that I expected to be full of goriness. The Green Inferno is less intent on showing you blood and guts and more concerned with showing you lots of fear. A group of young ideal do-gooders go to the Amazon to try and stop some land developers from destroying a local village full of still-wild natives. Of course things end up going south and the do-gooders end up captured and put on the lunch menu by the same tribe they were fighting to protect. It's a cruel irony and the first scenes with the native tribe people are harrowing and terrifying. I couldn't help but put myself in the shoes of the protagonists, and wonder how insanely horrified they must be.

   That whole sequence is the pinnacle of the movie, it's never gets as good as that again- which is sad because this premise had a lot of potential. In retrospect, there's a handful of really intense scenes, but too much of the movie is just the group of protagonists arguing about how to escape their little bamboo cage. It got tedious real fast. The pacing in this movie is all over the place, and pound for pound it's far less brutal than you might assume. I know some people reading this might be scratching their head, wondering how much more brutality I expected from a movie like this. Well, to be frank, I expected more personality for starters.

   There's a couple standout 'villains' in the movie so to speak, a couple of the cannibals who look fantastic. They're scary and frightening to even look at, but even that fear wears thin pretty fast from the audience's perspective. I think Roth should've been less concerned with any sort of authenticity and gone full blown theatrical. I remember being more freaked out by the sacrifice scenes in Apocalypto, which is much more intense and probably bloodier too. The difference is, this movie was supposed to be a gorefest. That's the impression I got from all the promotional schemes. It's really not. In fact, it's only moderately scary for the most part, and only really freaky in a couple scenes. This could've been compensated by lots of blood and guts, but there's not really even much of that.

  So, what you're left with is a slick and violent thriller that not's consistently brutal enough to blow anyone away nor frightening to become a must-see. Which is sad because I was really hoping this was scarier. I would've loved to have waved the banner for this movie and sing it's praises. I love me a good splatter-fest, but this wasn't it. It does a great job of showcasing the characters' gut wrenching fear and desperation, and there's some great shots in here regardless. Like I said, the centerpiece of the movie involving the first scenes with the cannibals are great. Which is total like a solid 15 minutes out of a 100 minute (approx.) movie.

  Overall I can give this flick a pass. It's light viewing with some gory scenes that are entertaining despite not reaching the heights I expected it to. Most of the movies I watched last month were as bloody if not bloodier. I expected more from The Green Inferno but it's exploitative nature is at odds with what it ends up being, which is just a really dark adventure movie. People should've been wading out of the theaters, knee deep in rivers of blood by the time this was over. Instead we got a lot of gross-out stuff, a couple gore scenes, and a really odd last act. I should reiterate that I still think it's a decent flick, I'd even buy it and watch it again. It's just not the blood-feast I hoped it would be.

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