If you’re into cannibal films from the 70s’ and 80s’ then you’ll find plenty of enjoyment in The Green Inferno, however while other audiences may appreciate its plot and tension, they may find its tone problematic.
This 2013 film from Hostel and Cabin Fever director Eli Roth, concerns a group of students flying out to the Amazon to stop a company from logging the forest but when their plane suddenly crashes, the young students are kidnapped by a native tribe and subjected to their cannibalistic rituals.
Even though most cannibal films are nothing but cheap, poorly written exploitation films, The Green Inferno’s script is very well done. The film begins at a very slow pace, building up tension as it establishes the characters and chronicles their journey to the jungle. It’s a while until the cannibals appear and when they do, it’s an intense and gruelling scene, all thanks to the script’s patient build up.
The tension doesn’t end there. In the tribe village, the group is held in a bamboo cage where, every day, one of them is taken out, ritually dismembered and eaten by the tribesmen. The knowledge that it is only a matter of time until you’re taken out and brutally murdered is terrifying. So as the group try to think of ways to escape, you feel their need and desperation. In this fashion The Green Inferno is like a prisoner-of-war camp film as the village is established as being heavily guarded. Hence when the students finally attempt to flee the village, it’s really intense.
Despite the good build up and setting, the plot begins to get very far-fetched towards the end of the film. Without getting into spoilers, the climax requires such a large suspension of disbelief, it decreased the tension I felt previously.
Still, for a cannibal film, The Green Inferno knows how to keep you engaged.
Like the films it takes inspiration from, The Green Inferno has no problem in disgusting its audience. The scenes where the tribe dismember the students and eat their flesh are cringe inducing and feel very real. If the film stuck to this tone it would’ve created a more consistent and impactful experience. However, there are moments that are so over the top in terms of body horror that they become comedic. Whether they are intentional or not is unclear. For example, there is a scene where one of the students defecates in the cage. The other students turn away in disgust as sound effects of squirting faeces follow.
Another example is later in the film, where one of the students breaks out from the cage and is caught by a crowd of tribesmen. The cannibals bite his neck and start to rip him apart with their bare hands like zombies. The gore is ridiculously graphic, similar to a scene from the original Dawn of the Dead. It’s completely unlike the gritty, realistic tone in the rest of the film.
Overall, despite its weak climax and inconsistent tone, The Green Inferno possesses some good tension and an engaging plot for the most part. If you like cannibal films then I certainly recommend it. If you’re into more traditional horror films however, you won’t miss a lot by not seeing it.
I give The Green Inferno a good 5 out of 10.