Watching “The Green Inferno” is like experiencing a 100 minute car trip with a very, opinionated, very stupid man in a bootleg “Zombi 2” T-shirt.
“Man, I hate these slacktivists”, the man shouts, unprompted.
“What don’t you like about them,” you ask.
“They’re hypocrites,” he sputters.
“In what way?” you ask.
Instead of answering, the man simply recounts that one scene from “Cannibal Holocaust” where a nude woman is impaled on a large pike. But before he can finish, he gets distracted by a man with a beard.
“Hey! You trust-fund-warrior-baby! Go back to Brooklyn,” he shouts as he throws his Icee out the driver’s side window.
Throughout all of this, you’re reminded of your friends and their breathless stories about this guy and his crazy car trips.
“He was so edgy and in your face, I totally threw up on our car ride to the Edinburgh International Film Festival,” they gush.
But as you sit there and listen to his inane, ill-informed and unfunny ramblings, you just start counting down the minutes until you reach your final destination.
“The Green Inferno” has a lot of things to say about activists and student protesters and anyone with any kind of a social conscious. However, none of those things are insightful or particularly accurate. Instead, writer/director Eli Roth views these people with the same kind of irrational, single-minded fury of a 75-year-old man who stares out his window at all of those ‘hippy-hoppy rap kids’ in their droopy pants who ride their skateboards a little too close to his driveway. “The Green Inferno” could just as easily be another term for old man Roth’s lawn because all of you damned little punks better get off it.
In the movie, Lorenza Izza (aka. Mrs. Eli Roth) plays a Columbia University freshman who gets involved with a group of activists/strawmen who are intent on protecting a lost Amazonian tribe from a developer’s army of bulldozers. The activists prove to be successful in briefly diverting the developers, although this success is tainted with the revelation that their intentions are far from noble and their celebratory plane ride home takes a fiery detour into the ground. Soon enough, the survivors envy the dead as the tribe they’ve sworn to protect turn out to be cannibals. So – ha, ha – take that hippies! That’s what you get for caring about something that isn’t a DP on a Lucio Fulci movie!
“The Green Inferno” wants to stick it to all of the slacktivists, social justice warriors and any other group that Eli Roth considers to be “f — gay” (as Sky Ferreira’s character gleefully notes at one point revealing Roth’s puddle-deep motivations).
But like any out of touch adult, Roth isn’t quite sure what any of those labels mean. So even though the activists in this movie travel to the Amazon and put their lives on the line by chaining themselves to a bulldozer, they’re still no different than the person who can’t seem to get off their high horse because they typed @Sting #Savetherainforest on their Twitter feed once upon a time.
In “The Green Inferno” anyone with a social conscious is secretly a public masturbator who’s in it simply for the purposes of self-promotion or unbelievably vapid like the vegan who refuses to eat pork even though she’s starving to death in a cage in the middle of a jungle. These aren’t people, these are hastily drawn political cartoons in the back pages of The New York Post.
Of course, if you’re reading a review of “The Green Inferno” you might say, “I don’t care about this film’s politics, tell me about the gore.”
Outside of the show stopping plane crash sequence, there’s nothing that gorehounds haven’t seen before. Unlike the Ruggero Deodato film that inspired this, “The Green Inferno” refuses to follow through on its more extreme set pieces. Oddly, the film seems more invested in its comic diversions. Such as an out of place moment that finds the cannibalistic tribe accidentally getting high on pot. What is this? A horror movie or “Porky’s 2: The Next Day?”
Glib, stupid and irritating, “The Green Inferno,” at the very least, reveals there are horror movies worse than “The Visit” playing in theaters right now.
Mike Sullivan is a movie reviewer for Weekender. Movie reviews appear weekly in Weekender.
“The Green Inferno”
Starring: Ariel Levy, Lorenza Izzo, Sky Ferreira
Director: Eli Roth
Weekender Rating: —