One genre that has been well served by the 2014 Edinburgh Film Fest is horror. The most high profile of scary flicks is The Green Inferno from modern horror master Eli Roth. Me and self-confessed ‘eater of human flesh’ Denis Mallon, Screenkicker’s resident animator, went to the UK premiere followed by a Q&A from Roth and lead actress Lorenza Izzo. Here’s what Denis thought of the film.
The Green Inferno
Director: Eli Roth
Stars: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara
The Green Inferno is the story of a team of young, enthusiastic rich kids, travelling to South America to educate the locals, and having their bottoms handed to them on a plate. No, it’s not a hastily assembled dramatisation of the England 2014 World Cup campaign, but the new comedy horror from director Eli Roth.
Justine (Lorenzo Izzo) is a middle class college freshman, with vague aspirations toward social causes, particularly for third world women’s rights issues. Tempted by the romantic revolutionary spirit of cultish activism leader Alejandro (Ariel Levy), she is roped into an elaborate political stunt against an evil gas corporation in Peru, which threatens the natural habitat of a remote Amazonian tribe.
The early scenes are fun but don’t really go that far to convince us of a solid reason why Justine might drop everything to go on a dangerous eco mission. Regardless, our team of young idealists soon arrive in the jungle where they immediately execute their daring plan in a well-staged set piece that serves to crank up the tension.
Our heroes manage to get one up on The Man, and are swiftly sent on their way, overjoyed to see that they’re “trending” worldwide. The party is short lived, however, when another gripping scene sees the plane crash land in the middle of the jungle, attracting a local tribe.
Immediately the tribe prove they’re not exactly friendly, picking the meatiest member of the gang and staging their own special version of Come Dine With Me. Allowing the audience only glimpses of gore until this point, Roth ramps up the carnage for this dizzying sequence, masterfully demonstrating why his has one of the best reputations for stomach churning horrific excess.
As the remaining members of the group cower in their cage, knowing they are next on the menu, Alejandro reveals more to their mission that he had originally let on. Knowing their chances are rapidly diminishing, Justine and the other survivors must find a way to escape before they find themselves served up on a platter.
Eli Roth has a great time channelling the likes of Ruggero Deodato and Sam Raimi, to walk the tricky line between over the top horror and physical comedy. The director brought his cast and crew to shoot in a real Amazonian village, bringing a real tribal authenticity to the setting that few similar movies capture. With the deep exotic palette of the jungle, the film looks beautiful and is set apart from the gothic gloom of many horror tales.
Lorenzo Izzo provides a solid lead character, showing a convincing naivety in the opening stages that transforms into steely determination as the horror unfolds. Ariel Levy by contrast is a disappointment – described early on as charismatic and mysterious, he never manages more than sleazy and limp.
The brilliant mid-section of the film does gradually unravel a bit, culminating with a pretty weak ending and wholly unnecessary sequel-bait finale.
Overall, though, The Green Inferno is tremendous feast of fun, especially for connoisseurs of horror comedy, and brings extra plates of much needed originality to the table.
Thanks to Denis for a great review. Look out for a full interview with Eli Roth and Lorenza Izzo closer to the general UK release of The Green Inferno. Strangely I feel hungry now so I’ll leave you with the Screenkicker Quality Index. Bon appetite!