Privileged New York college student Justine (Lorenza Izzo) finds herself seeking social media driven activism on her campus after meeting student activist Alejandro (Ariel Levy). While on a hunger strike on behalf of underpaid janitors, Justine joins the extremely obnoxious fellow activist on his next uninformed project, which is to save the Amazon.
Well think of your own Facebook timeline, how many friends on your list post each and every cause that comes their way. Passionate, uneducated and boisterous behind a computer screen for whatever is the cause of the moment. Its something we see all too often and perhaps some of us are guilty of this ourselves. It isn’t until Justine finds herself on a plane to the Peruvian jungle that her appetite for activism is forever altered.
While the group of students are on the way back after their brief stint in the amazon they end up in a graphic plane crash in the Peruvian jungle. What they discover next is that they are not the only ones in there and soon meet a tribe of people that have quite the taste for, shall we say, American cuisine.
In classic Eli Roth tradition there is plenty of gore, guts and glory in Green Inferno but it fails to really live up to its more grotesque potential. Sure there are tribal people eating these idiots that think they can just charge into the amazon for their own cause and leave just as quickly, so long as they get their selfies in but it doesn’t quite maximize the level of mounting fear for these hapless tourists.
It may very well be the fact that it is damn near impossible to feel much (or any) sympathy for these bland characters that don’t have any sort of substance to them. There is no real backstory for anyone, no time or inclination to develop an emotional attachment to these characters, because quite frankly there is nothing about any of them (except maybe Jonah) that makes them even remotely likeable.
Yeah, they get eaten, but really, who cares.
One rather interesting factor is the inclusion of actual tribesmen in the roles of the bloodthirsty cannibals and director Roth has stated that when he approached the Chilean tribe that plays the cannibals in the film that he had to introduce them to what a film was. It isn’t hard to imagine there is a definite lack of television in the middle of the jungle. To educate the natives on cinema, Roth showed them Cannibal Holocaust, which the tribe reportedly found hilarious. There are moments when the viewer will feel the same about The Green Inferno and nothing sucks the terror out of a movie like a burst of laughter.
Still, shortcomings aside, I found The Green Inferno to be mostly entertaining, gross and gory (in a good way). Could it have benefited from dropping the comedy and really focusing more of the visceral horror? Sure. Is it still worth checking out? In my opinion, definitely.