Eli Roth’s newest film, The Green Inferno, brings back a horror genre I thought was dead and gone: cannibal films full of gore, irony, and even a little satire. Eli Roth pays homage to Rugerro Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust. Even the title of the film is a tribute to this film – the original title for this 70s cult classic was actually Green Inferno. While watching this film, you may recognize a few similar plot points and scenes.
A group of college students travels to Peru in order to protest certain developers. These developers plan to destroy the rainforest and the native men and women who live there. As it turns out, our group of protestors find themselves captured by the very people they wanted to protect. We are told that the natives think the college students are the enemy – no different from the developers that are destroying their home. However, I still expected Roth to do more to make the natives seem like real people with real fears and real motives. I am impressed with the way Roth showed us how the village worked together, even if they were working on cooking and eating a human being.
Roth tries to update an old story by using a group of “slacktivists” as the main course. Although these victims are not as heartless as the victims in Cannibal Holocaust were, Roth does a great job of showing us that our easily offended “slacktivists” do not actually care about important matters when their own needs can be met through other means. He also shows us that PC culture means absolutely nothing when our lives are in danger. This is done by showing us the true nature of the leader of this group of college activists. Not only does this man show the others that he is more concerned about how many Twitter hits he can get, he proves that he will gladly risk the lives of others just to save his own. A few other disturbing scenes show us that the well-being of others around him does not really matter to him.
Despite a few small problems with character development, it definitely does not lack in visuals and special effects. While most of the scenes were bloody, revolting, and guaranteed to make some people quit watching, I still would not classify the film as a torture porn flick. Eli Roth had the chance to create a scene that would have shocked and horrified millions but he did not take it. It seems that even Eli Roth knows how to create a gory movie with taste.
Eli Roth had a point to make in The Green Inferno. I have been tired of seeing the same PG-13 ghost stories on the big screen. I have been waiting for a new popular director who is not scared to push the envelope, offend people, and create something that dares viewers to question themselves and the current state of the world. Where Deodato targeted fake, documentary-making tree huggers in the 70s, Roth targeted the easily offended “slacktivists” and keyboard warriors of this day and age. He practically begs for the world to cause uproar about The Green Inferno and the world is playing right into it.
Already people are complaining about The Green Inferno. They are not specifically concerned about the amount of gore shown on the screen – these men and women, who probably see a bit of themselves in the college students, are complaining about Roth’s portrayal of “indigenous people”. Here is the thing. These same “indigenous people” were shown Cannibal Holocaust in order to prepare for their roles. Eli Roth claims they thought it was a comedy.
The men and women offended by this film only add to its charm. Roth did a great job of using an old idea to show the audience that he has plenty of guts to share. He even did it tastefully. While it was a bloody cannibal film, it did not have the same lack of taste that Cannibal Holocaust is so famous for. Roth found a way to pay homage to one of his favorite films and he did not have to kill any real animals to turn heads.