Some are calling The Green Inferno Eli Roth’s most horrifying film to date, but that’s giving him way too much credit. Returning to the director’s chair for the first time in six years, Roth takes inspiration from the cannibal movies of the late seventies and early eighties, so much so that they’re listed in the credits (along with the actors’ Twitter handles). A group of college activists leave their ivory tower to defend an Amazonian tribe from the illegal clear-cutting of a Peruvian jungle. Things, as they do in horror films, go amiss with a horrific plane crash and continue to go downhill from there as the surviving students are taken hostage by the very tribe they attempted to save–a tribe that happens to have cannibalistic tendencies.
The film begins with the potential for a smart, satirical look at empty activism in first-world nations, but quickly devolves into a gorefest with shaky acting and predictable death scenes that border on some sort of sick comedy rather than horror. One of the film’s few strong points is that it was actually filmed in the Amazon, providing the most gorgeous shots of lush greenery as a backdrop to Roth’s sea of blood. Apparently The Green Inferno is already slated for a sequel, which I hope Roth spends a little more time fine-tuning. The groundwork’s there, but more attention to character development and social commentary would take Roth’s work to new stomach-turning heights.
Sabrina Maddeaux is Toronto Standard’s managing editor. Follow her on Twitter at @sabrinamaddeaux.