Alas, when I went a 10:30 PM showing of The Green Inferno, I found myself sitting alone among the rows and rows of empty seats, watching the crowds gather and disperse behind curtains that displayed showings of Black Mass or The Martian. Hell, people were even flocking to The Perfect Guy, leaving me to wonder just what the horror crowd was doing this particular night that stopped anyone else from going to a late showing of a hyped Eli Roth project that had only been out for a short time so far. Part of me wonder if I missed some fundamental element by not being in a crowd, or at least not having gone with anyone, because the mass reactions shown in the trailers looked like there’d be enough going on in the movie that someone in the pack of moviegoers would have gotten a bit worked up, in effect working everyone else up.
Just how many holes do those beads go through?
So yes, I arrived at a 10:30 PM showing of The Green Inferno by myself, and was the only one in the theater. Despite a couple cringes here and there, I found myself detached, and a bit disinterested, and certainly not as moved or thrown about as the trailers had suggested I would be. Like I said, it could have been the lack of a crowd….but should you really need a crowd to enjoy a movie?
The story is a well-worn one; a bunch of college kids who are interested in preserving beautiful things on Earth and don’t like corporate corruption and all that fun stuff take a little trip to the Amazon to attempt to stop construction by the rain forest. Cue some tension with the government, cue a successful mission, cue a plan crash in the middle of the Amazon, and then cue the hijinx. These are the kinda kids who don’t even need a tribe of people-eaters to get themselves knocked off; after the plane crashes, those that can still move all go about three feet before STANDING right by a plane that’s on FIRE. One of them even gets his head nearly taken off by a slow-moving propeller (translation: they’re sort of idiots).
With all that being said, the tribe swarms on them quickly after their crash, and they are caged and to be fed upon one by one. This is where the real grits n’ guts of the film’s appeal is supposed to take place; it’s main hyping point was how vile the things that were done to these kids was going to be. The crowning gore achievement is probably the first act when they arrive and are inspected by the tribal leader, known as the Elder (played by Antonieta Pari). I definitely don’t want to ruin it as it’s the most effective scene in my opinion, so let’s just say it’s very…”eye-opening.”
Ah, the cannon fodder that exists purely to be fed upon
The acting by the college kids is campy at best, although that’s hardly a concern as their characters are pretty one-dimensional, and they are simply toys to be trifled with in this film, toys that get trifled with and then cooked and enjoyed. There’s also a ridiculous amount of “knockout arrows” that were used which led me to believe by the end there was some running joke among production about these things that we hadn’t been made aware of.
When it comes down to it, and this can be said about many an Eli Roth project, it’s all about the limb loss and how the blood runneth over. With The Green Inferno….I just wasn’t that enthralled. In a land where things like Hannibal put out episodes of gore-infested cannibalism on major network cable…you’re gonna have to go a bit further than a cannibalistic tribe that does, well, exactly what all cannibalistic tribes do. The Green Inferno felt like a movie with a familiar premise and routinely predictable events, all without some sort of twist or edge that the movie was promising to possess. Whatever that twist or edge was, I didn’t see it.
It’s certainly not a terrible viewing experience. There are some campy fun moments, and while the gore didn’t have me reeling off of my seat, it was all generally well-done and should appeal to any torture junkie. It’s just that The Green Inferno carried its extreme violence like a badge of courage throughout its advertisements and ads, but it’s a bit too tame to be carrying that badge so loudly.
The Green Inferno is another Eli Roth bloodletting, but it misses a lot of the wit and sadistic charm of his previous films…there’s cannibals (yay!), but I wouldn’t say it’s anything you haven’t seen before (boo!)