Tuesday, June 25, 2019

THE GREEN INFERNO (2013) Blu-ray Review

The Green Inferno (2013) d. Eli Roth (USA) (101 min)

Eager to “do something worthwhile,” college freshman Justine (Lorenza Izzo) joins an on-campus activist organization led by the charismatic Alejandro (Ariel Levy). Despite protestations from her politico dad (Richard Burgi) and apathetic roommate (Sky Ferreria), she travels with the group to the Peruvian Amazon to prevent the decimation of the rainforest and the extermination of the indigenous Yajes tribe by money-grubbing developers. Their efforts are seemingly successful, but on the return home their small aircraft suffers a mechanical failure; the ensuing crash leaves several dead and wounded. Worse yet, they are stranded among a particularly nasty group of natives who are hungry for justice and, well, just hungry....

Ugh. Having finally, grudgingly gotten around to watching it, I feel compelled to say a few things about Mr. Roth’s self-described “love letter to the Italian cannibal movies of the 1980s” right at the outset: 1) Roth does not wink or comment on the subgenre; he simply seems to be (pointlessly and belatedly) adding his own chapter to the list, which is his prerogative, I suppose, except 2) this is/was 2013 and in this day and age do we really need to be perpetuating the mythology of non-white “savages” killing and eating human flesh just because it’s a shocking concept?

Roth’s first directorial feature since Hostel: Part II is surprisingly bold-faced in its racism on this subject – even Cannibal Holocaust was smart enough to cover its exploitation tracks by showing “the real cannibals” to be the whites invading the tribe’s terrain and committing crimes against the locals. Roth merely says, “Hey, these brown people eat human flesh, especially white meat – skeery, huh?” with nothing more to add to the conversation. It’s the same kind of tone-deaf fanboy attitude that has marked much of his work, and I’m sure his defenders will do just that (“It’s just a movie, man!”), but or my money it’s the wrong message for our times.

If Roth had been clever enough to connect the Yajes’ brutality with a desire to punish the interlopers for destroying their way of life, he could at least have had his cake and eaten it too. Instead, it’s just another day in the jungle and that’s the problem.

Predictably, with Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero at the helm, the gore effects are effective and gruesome. Equally predictable, Roth’s characters (with credited co-writer Guillermo Amoedo sharing some of the blame by association) are laughably one-dimensional and the dialogue painful and trite. (Credit should be given to Izzo for her fully invested and heroic attempts to create something more than the standard victim role, especially since she isn’t given much to work with.) The sumptuous cinematography by Antonio Quercia provides a lush green backdrop for the frequent bloodletting, although whoever created the ultra-fakey digital army ants that march all over one victim’s face deserves a good spanking.

The director’s ham-fisted attempts at reverse social commentary, making the student activists’ efforts futile and/or mere virtue-signaling, add a deeper, even more troubling cynicism to the proceedings. It’s less of the ironic adage “no good deed goes unpunished,” but rather “these idealistic and privileged do-gooders had it coming.” This cold-blooded sentiment, coming from a supremely privileged white male who has been riding the success of his first two films for over a decade now, is grosser than any onscreen splatter he and producer Jason Blum can dish out.

Interestingly, however, the special features that accompany Shout! Factory’s new Blu-ray release make the entire experience a lot more pleasant because we get to appreciate the challenges of shooting in the jungles of Peru and all the can-do independent filmmaking spirit on display. I’m not a fan of the movie itself, but I was pretty entertained by all the behind-the-scenes stories and the abundance of supplemental materials documenting the experience, so I can only imagine how gratifying it will be for those who love it.


NEW “Into The Green Inferno” with co-writer/producer/director Eli Roth (50 min)

NEW “Uncivilized Behavior: Method Acting in The Green Inferno” with actors Lorenza Izzo, Daryl Sabara, and Kirby Bliss Blanton (35 min)

Audio commentary with co-writer/producer/director Eli Roth, Producer Nicolás López, and cast members Lorenza Izzo, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton, and Daryl Sabara

Behind the Scenes Footage (56 min)

Original publicity featurettes including “The Making of The Green Inferno” (16 min), “Lorenza Izzo: Working in the Amazon” (1 min), “Amazon Jungle” (1 min), and “Meet the Villagers” (1 min).

Theatrical Trailer

TV Spots

Storyboards and Makeup Tests gallery (6 min)

Behind-The-Scenes gallery (13 min)

Village Construction gallery (3 min)

Publicity/Posters gallery (1 min)

Movie Stills (5 min)

Plus! Bonus Compact Disc: The exclusive original soundtrack by Manuel Riveiro (with bonus tracks) (62:37)

The Green Inferno is available now on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory and can be ordered HERE:



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