More than any other genre, the success of a horror movie depends on its effect on the audience. How does it manipulate emotions to scare you, utilizing color, sound, dialogue, editing, music and make-up? Does it use psychology or rely on a series of brutalities for shock value? The best horror films – like Alfred Hitchcock’s ”Psycho” – are those that rely more on suggestion than graphic bloodshed. Read on…
Director of the first two “Hostel” movies, Eli Roth opts for violent carnage, inspired by Italian director Ruggero Deodato’s grim “Cannibal Holocaust” (1980), in which ‘found footage’ of a documentary film crew reveals what occurred in the Amazonian jungle, concluding with the memorable line: “I wonder who the real cannibals are.”
Roth’s updated, politically incorrect version begins on a New York college campus, where Alejandro (Ariel Levy) stages a hunger strike for underpaid janitors. His interest then turns to saving the Amazon rain forest from exploitation by developers’ bulldozers.
Despite the skepticism of her roommate (singer Sky Ferreira), naïve Justine (Lorenza Izzo, Roth’s real-life wife) joins Alejandro and other clueless students on a mission, over the objections of her father, a human rights lawyer at the U.N., who gives her the phone number of the U.S. Ambassador to Peru – just in case.
When their small plane crashes, Alejandro, Justine and the surviving ‘do-gooders’ are captured and tortured by savages whose bodies are slathered with red ochre and chalk. Ironically, these are South America’s indigenous people, the ones that environmental activists are determined to ‘save.’
Leaving nothing to the imagination, Eli Roth vividly depicts dreadful eye-gouging and depraved genital mutilation of the victims, culminating in a feast, zooming in as the cannibals are chewing on roasted corpses.
FYI: After debuting at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, this was in limbo due to its offensive content – until producer Jason Blum/Blumhouse Productions picked it up, creating a new label, BH Tilt, at Universal Studios.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Green Inferno” is a gross, stomach-churning 2, proving, once again, that no good deed goes unpunished.