Eli Roth’s latest film follows a group of obnoxious college students desperate to save the world into a cannibalistic tribe in South America. This is probably Roth’s most mainstream film, and I think he accomplishes a great deal. This film demonstrates that he is maturing as a filmmaker and storyteller, but there are still some flaws.
I understand that the college students are supposed to be empty, vapid and fairly detestable, but it is important to have at least one character that you are rooting for. Roth makes all the characters stereotypes and I found this incredibly distracting. I did, however, enjoy that the “monster” in this film is really tradition. The tribe is never framed as evil or cruel or anything other than people doing exactly what they and their people have done forever. I do feel like Roth drills this point into the ground at times, but it was a nice step away from the traditional “evil” antagonist of most horror films.
Roth does venture into ridiculous territory at times with his characters. Some moments are just plain silly. I wasn’t sure if Roth was trying to shock me, but Fantastic Fest is a tough place to try and shock anyone. I think the strength of The Green Inferno was Roth’s clear affection for the classic cannibal films (he details the history of the genre in the credits which I thought was awesome). His weaknesses lie in his attempts to modernize and mainstream such a difficult genre.
Overall, if you are a fan of Eli Roth’s or a fan of cannibal cinema, I would definitely recommend it.