The Green Inferno - Catholic Courier

The Green Inferno

By Kurt Jensen
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) — It’s not hard to guess why the cannibalism-themed horror flick "The Green Inferno" (BH Tilt) languished for two years before a distributor could be persuaded to foist it on the public.

By turns racist, gory, nonsensical, aggressively lewd and cliched, this penny dreadful is a throwback to the worst excesses of the 1960s and ’70s grindhouse genre.

Director Eli Roth, who co-scripted with Guillermo Amoedo, appears to have had the notion of blending commentary about environmental activism with an old, and deservedly abandoned, exploitation motif: the sight of nubile young women fleeing bloodthirsty savages.

Alejandro (Ariel Levy) purports to be one of the leaders of a militant group that’s a mash-up of the Anonymous online collective and Greenpeace. Its members specialize in creating live video streams of environmental atrocities in faraway places. "The only way to change them is to shame them," he proclaims.

In reality, Alejandro is a cynical phony, accepting corporate cash to stage what amounts to performance-art publicity stunts by the unsuspecting college students he lures into his expeditions. These include Justine (Lorenza Izzo, Roth’s wife), the daughter of a U.N. lawyer who imagines her dad’s position will give her an advantage when trying to escape foreign countries.

The kids are arrested after a protest in Peru during which they chain themselves to earth-moving equipment. Alejandro pays off the authorities and arranges to extricate everyone. But the plane flying them out crashes into the nearly impenetrable Amazon rainforest, killing about half its passengers.

The survivors are quickly captured by a red-painted indigenous tribe wearing bones through their noses. Just as rapidly, they become a staple of the barbarians’ diet: Sometimes they’re roasted, but just as often their flesh is served up tartare, though not before being tortured till tender.

The rest of this awful hacked-up mess involves continuous screaming in lieu of dialogue, escape attempts and Justine’s peril as a painted and barely clothed "bride" threatened with genital mutilation by a leering lady witch doctor.

Talk about your toxic waste.

The film contains extreme gratuitous and gory violence, including cannibalism, torture and sexual assaults, racist imagery, full nudity, scatological material and frequent rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.

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