Unhappy meals.

The Eli Roth brand of horror is very specific. Take a bunch of Americans, put them in some foreign location and then proceed to literally tear them apart. In his last two films Hostel and Hostel Part II, it was horny Americans. In his long-awaited film The Green Inferno, it’s privileged university activists who want to change the world. Eli Roth is shooting for Social Justice Warrior satire this time around. An homage to the infamous 1970s exploitation film Cannibal HolocaustThe Green Inferno is a brutal, gruesome, objectionable piece of trash. And that’s exactly what Roth wants.

Justine (Lorenza Izzo) is a naive young college freshman who attends an activist organization meeting, partly due to its charming leader Alejandro (Ariel Levy). The group plans to take a trip to a Peruvian indigenous tribe, to stop it from being destroyed by bulldozers. Once there, the group is successful in stopping the bulldozing. But their plane crashes and the kids get captured by the very village they were trying to save. And then things get cookin’.


Movies like The Green Inferno and other exploitation movies have to be judged on their own scale. I could point out this movie’s racism and it’s misogyny. I could criticize how the satire doesn’t really work or how the film is filmed flatly. But that’s not why I saw this movie, not why anyone sees this movie.

What people want is to be grossed out, to see these self-righteous jerks get what’s coming to them. The murder/cannibal scenes are vicious and horrible. And while the villagers are aggressively horrifying looking, Roth does make an effort–slapdash though it may be–to humanize some of them. The villagers chant and sing while preparing their human feasts. It’s so matter of fact, that it almost seems normal. Roth doesn’t subtitle the villagers, alienating the activists and the audience from what’s going on.

The Green Inferno starts off really slow. Roth knows we want the carnage so he laboriously delays it. That’s partly because this is one of those horror movies where everything points to the lead character not going on this obviously dangerous trip, multiple exits for her that she does not take. Justine’s roommate Kaycee (Sky Ferreira) is probably the smartest character in the movie because she tells a smitten Justine that guys like Alejandro who are both creepy and charismatic are the ones to stay away from. I was like, preach, girl! I knew Justine had to go to Peru for the movie to happen, but I spent the entire first 45 minutes mentally begging for her to heed the warning signs.

Roth wants us to think that these kids went to Peru for their own selfish reasons, not because they actually care. There’s a lot of talk about filming things, getting press, a retweet from CNN. But watching the sweet Jonah (Aaron Burns) get his tongue eaten whole and torn limb to limb in the film’s first sequence of queasy body horror, I wondered if these kids were that bad. Naive, self-righteous, borderline neocolonist? Maybe, but if Roth wants us to think these guys deserve their fate then I’m not sure I agree.

While I wouldn’t say I enjoyed the hour of dehumanizing torture and unrelenting fear, I can say that the special effects are incredible. With little to no CGI, the film makes great use of practical effects for the limbs and heads being hacked apart. The action scenes, chases and almost drownings, are intense. The plane crash sequence is terrifically staged from inside the plane.

Performance-wise, Lorenza Izzo is convincing and sympathetic as the naive but ultimately altruistic freshman caught up in something scarier than she could imagine. Ariel Levy is disgutingly smarmy and self-involved; as the film goes on, he reveals even deeper levels of reprehensibility. The rest of cast plays out as standard slasher film types; the actors are game for anything physically but not the best actors.


Accordingto Eli Roth, he used real Peruvian villagers including Ramon Llamo and Antonia Peri in the film. These actors play their roles quite well, some of them rise above red-skinned savages that they seem like.

The Green Inferno probably won’t win any new fans for Eli Roth. The film is gruesome and extreme, the kind of torture porn that really divided horror fans. However, it succeeds in what it is going for. You have to watch it expecting this kind of horrifying gore and wild sadistic violence. Because it’s all part of the fun.

But here’s a very important question: what stops cannibals from eating each other?

Cannibals Vs. SJWs in 'The Green Inferno'
Eli Roth delivers on his promise of unrelenting cannibalistic gore, even if the film isn't as sharp as it could be.
  • Awesome practical effects
  • Succeeds with gruesome violence
  • Performances from actors
  • Flat visuals
  • The satire is a little weak
6.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)



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About The Author

Manish first came to love horror through Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and Roman Polanski's Repulsion. He still sometimes has to sleep with the TV on after catching the latest scary flick. Manish loves ghost stories, psycho-thrillers and gory horror-comedies. You can check out more of Manish's writing at his personal blog "Mathur & the Marquee" or on twitter @hippogriffrider.