The Green Inferno (EIFF 2014)

The Green InfernoJustine (Lorenza Izzo) is a young idealist studying in New York City when she becomes involved with student activists campaigning for conservation in the Amazon. Together with Alejandro (Ariel Levy), Samantha (Magda Apanowicz) and Daniel (Nicolás Martinez), she departs for Peru, where they stage a successful demonstration against contractors cutting down acres of trees. On their way back, however, the plane they are travelling in malfunctions, crashing in territory belonging to the tribe they were trying to save. Unbeknownst to them, the tribe practices cannibalistic rituals.

Having attended last year’s Glasgow Film Festival on behalf of Nicolás López’ Aftershock, in which he starred, Eli Roth is back on the Scottish festival circuit with The Green Inferno, his first directorial effort since Hostel: Part II in 2007. Shot on location in the Peruvian rain forest, and featuring genuine tribes people from the local area (though their cannibalistic tendencies are purely fictitious), the film is rather different from his other efforts. It’s beautiful, for one thing, and unexpectedly funny, for another.

It is not fear that Roth evokes with his panning shots of the jungle, but wanderlust. Bulldozers are tearing down trees long before cannibals get to tear into human flesh, and when the activists set out to protest deforestation you are right behind them. Even when things go awry, the arrival of multicoloured tribesmen is just as likely to bring to mind vivid Xperia adverts than your deepest, darkest nightmares. It adds to the heightened sense of absurdity, and while it may undermine the atmosphere of suspense it does little to diminish the inevitable gruesomeness.

As for the humour, that follows from the absurdity. Roth pokes fun at student activism, questioning the effectiveness of hunger strikes and ridiculing many of their chosen causes. Once Justine and co. arrive in the Amazon things only get more surreal, with the activists boarding rickshaws named after celebrities such as Madonna and Brad Pitt and fine dining while they wait for their plane into the jungle. The strongest juxtaposition is between the horrific nature of the cannibals’ actions and the mundane manner with which the treat them. Unexpectedly, the film isn’t judging their customs, but the students for not doing their research.

There are scenes in The Green Inferno that are just as squirm-inducing as the shaving sequence from Cabin Fever and the bit with the Achilles tendon in Hostel, but there is much more to this one that simple schlock. A clever film with a dedicated turn from up-and-coming scream-queen Izzo, The Green Inferno is quite possibly Roth’s best film yet.



About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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