The Green Inferno (2013)

1

****/*****

After three long years of waiting, I finally managed to get my hands on Eli Roth’s latest Peruvian gorefest, The Green Inferno. 

From the creator of Hostel and Cabin Fever comes a film fraught with flesh, blood and terror – when a group of College Student Activists travel to the Amazon in order to demonstrate against Deforestation and are taken captive amongst a tribe of hungry cannibals.

The films’ mise-en-scene is rich in colour and texture, with bright green trees and foliage, with pastel blues and turquoise that make up the running river. The beautiful setting contrasts bluntly with the horrific events that take place throughout the films’ 100-minute running time. The colour red, of course, plays a vital part in the film through the body paint that the tribespeople wear, and the blood of victims.

White body paint is also used, that is lathered on the bodies of those next into ‘woman adulthood’ – In which one particularly sickening scene nearly sees a member of the group become a victim of FGM. The tribes costume mainly consists of rags of cloth over their bodies, this paint, and bone piercings through their noses and ears.

The tribe used in the film were actually a real tribe from the Amazon that Roth approached in order to be extras in the film. The tribe was screened Cannibal Holocaust (1980) in order to explain to them what a film was (They had never seen film before), and what they were expected to do, and they eagerly accepted. Roth even disclosed that one member of the tribe tried to offer their two-year-old child to the production manager as a thank you for the experience.

The authenticity of using a real tribe that live in the conditions of a rainforest is one of the films biggest merits – the location and the people make the film almost believable, as they move comfortably within the space.

The mise-en-scene of the clearing in which the tribe resides is believable through it’s simplicity. The location of river and rainforest speaks for itself, but is decorated with small huts and a hint of horror in the form of hanging skulls and skeletons with a little bare flesh still roughly attached, proving that their last victim had not been too long ago.

These small details, rather than large ones, are what makes the film so terrifyingly satisfying to watch. With playful deaths as well as intense ones, most notably a plane propeller incident, this film keeps you on your toes, and shock-amuses as well as scares, dispersing tension ready for the next bloody kill.

With kebab-styled slicing of cooked human meat, severed limbs, muscles and flesh torn from alive bodies, and gouged eyes, The Green inferno finds eventful and gory ways to whittle down the group one by one whilst the tribespeople hungrily gnaw on human rib bones while socialising in groups, laughing and talking as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

The biggest disappointments in the film come right at the very end, where questions are left unanswered as the lead character Justine (Lorenza Izzo) unexpectedly lies about her experiences in the rainforest. In addition to this, activist leader Alejandro (Ariel Levy) is a confusing oddball, commiting strange actions, and we are always unsure of his intentions. We know to hate him by his behaviour, but by the end of the film the whole thing just seems off somehow.

The acting (by the professional actors) is to be desired in places, but the overall richness of the film completely overrules this. A must-see for any gore enthusiast, with just the right amount of believability to really make you squirm in your seat, set within a beautiful and idyllic Amazon backdrop.

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