Genre: Thriller
Director: Eli Roth
Cast: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz, Ignacia Allamand, Daryl Sabara, Nicolás Martinez, Sky Ferreira, Richard Burgi
Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins
Rating: R21 (Violence and Gore)
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Official Website:

Opening Day: 1 October 2015

Synopsis: New York college student Justine (Lorenza Izzo), a lawyer's daughter, meets a student activist named Alejandro (Ariel Levy) when he goes on a hunger strike on behalf of underpaid janitors. Smitten, Justine agrees to help Alejandro undertake his next project: to save the Amazon. She soon learns to regret her decision when their plane crashes in the Peruvian jungle and she and the rest of their group are taken captive by a tribe of hungry cannibals.

Movie Review:

There is good reason why Eli Roth has his fair share of haters in and outside Hollywood, and his fourth directorial effort ‘The Green Inferno’ won’t do anything to change that. Yes, anyone who has seen his earlier movies – namely ‘Cabin Fever’, ‘Hostel’ and ‘Hostel 2’ – will know that Roth has a distinct flair for the grisly and the grotesque, which pretty much describes this one as well. In fact, Roth is here paying very serious homage to the cannibal subgenre, a disgusting breed of films in the 1970s and 1980s mostly made by Italian directors where Westerners would encounter flesh-eating tribes in the jungle and that he makes explicit mention of during the end credits.

That is, if you even make it that far. Among one of the most stomach-churning imagery here is the sight of a 20-something year old male having his eyeballs gorged out and his tongue torn out before being hacked limb to limb and stuffed into an outdoor oven for a tribe of indigenous Amazonians to enjoy (though the classification authorities in Singapore have deemed the former too much even for an R21 rating and had the distributor snip it off). Notwithstanding its accuracy, the sight of these savages feasting on charred human flesh sliced from a roasted torso is surely to be stomach-churning for some and vomit-inducing for others, so we advise that you check your appetite for such gore even before stepping into this one.

Those who get a kick out of such vulgarity or those simply curious to experience its viscerality will find themselves hooked for a good one-and-half hours. Yes, as gross as it is, there is more than a measure of skill and wit to Roth’s method which even his harshest critics will grudgingly admit. After all, it isn’t just any bunch of Whites who find themselves staring down the teeth of these cannibals; instead, Roth places in their crosshairs a bunch of idealistic but ultimately misguided activists led by the charismatic but sly Alejandro (Ariel Levy) who are on a trip to the Amazon to pull off a social media stunt ostensibly aimed at preventing a ruthless corporation from decimating the indigenous population.

Even before these eco-idealists are captured by the very people they had intended to save, Roth lays bare the irony of such student activism, as it turns out that Alejandro was paid by a representative of a rival corporation to delay the deforestation. Even more despicable is how Alejandro manipulates his group’s newest participant, Justine (Lorenza Izzo), whose father works in the United Nations in order to get the attention of the gun-toting militia whom they are facing down. The hypocrisy of their mission is twofold – one, in the blind faith that they had placed in their leader; and two, in their ignorance of just who they are fighting for – the latter of which will cost at least most of them their lives.

It is only at the halfway mark that Roth unleashes the gore, and it is to his credit that he serves up enough social commentary before the carnage to convince that there is more than just bloodlust up his sleeve. Not to say that he has lost his taste for blood; like we’ve said at the start, the ensuing depictions of violence are as gruesome as it gets, so don’t you go assuming that Roth has mellowed in the eight years since his last big-screen feature. And just so you know, the women have it worse here, seeing as how the aborigines test their virginity by penetrating their vaginas with sharp objects and then perform a ritual of genital mutilation on those found to be virgins.

There is no two ways here – if you’re prepared to sit through ‘The Green Inferno’, you have to recognise that gore is Roth’s method. Indeed, there is no subtlety when it comes to violence and blood, and those who are squeamish simply need not apply. Otherwise, Roth is a smarter filmmaker than the more primitive aspects of his film suggest, and no matter how put-offish his method may be, it is a visceral experience all right, one that will make your heart pound and your palms sweat. Whether or not you like to admit it, that’s good enough proof that Roth has succeeded.

Movie Rating:

(A disgusting but admittedly effective gore-fest that pays homage to the cannibal subgenre of the 1970s and 1980s)

Review by Gabriel Chong


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