Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Green Inferno (4 Stars)

This is my Halloween Challenge film #25. It was made in 2013 by director Eli Roth, and it's a respectful homage to the cannibal films of the early 1980's. This is something most film critics forget in their reviews. They compare "Green Inferno" with modern horror films, when they should be comparing it with the old cannibal films.

Justine is a naive young freshman student at the Columbia University in New York. She's a good girl who's only interested in studying, not student protests, but she's attracted to a protest group when she sees it's led by an attractive young man called Alejandro. The group is planning a trip to Peru to protest about a large corporation cutting down a forest and destroying the habitat of an indigenous tribe. After initial hesitation Justine decides to travel to Peru with 13 other students. Nobody knows where she is because she lies to her father, an attorney who works for the United Nations; she tells him that she's going on a university field trip.

The protest itself is fairly successful. Before they can be arrested the activists publish videos of the corporation's activities on the Internet which quickly go viral. Then they're sent home by plane. Unfortunately they don't get very far. Soon after takeoff the plane has a defect and crashes in the jungle, possibly as a result of sabotage, killing half of the passengers. Justine and the other survivors are captured by the tribe that they intended to protect. It's a tribe which practises cannibalism, and the students are eaten one by one while the others attempt to escape.

Cannibal films, like zombie films, aren't pretty to look at. If anything, cannibal films are uglier, because zombie films just involve a few scratches and bites, whereas cannibals settle in for a full meal. I've watched "Cannibal Holocaust" and "Cannibal Ferox" as part of my education as a film fan. I still have them on DVD in boxes in the cellar, but I don't intend to return to them any time soon.

What a beautiful place to die!
"Green Inferno" stands up as a modern adaptation of these films. The cinematography is much more beautiful, not just because it's more modern, but because the old cannibal films had a low budget even for the time when they were made. This also means that the gore is a lot more realistic than in the old films. The most terrifying scene is when the first victim's arms and legs are chopped off while he's still alive and screaming.

Other reviewers criticise "Green Inferno" for its lack of plot and suspense. They don't get it. It's not a film about telling a story full of suspense. It's about the sheer horror of watching your friends being eaten alive in front of you and knowing you could be next.

This isn't a film for everyone. The violence and gore is extreme. It is, however, a film that ought to be watched by anyone who takes cinema seriously.

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