31 Days of Halloween — Day 3: The Green Inferno (2015) — by Dr. Shock

The Green Inferno 2015

Editor’s note: Dave “Dr. Shock” Becker is a host on Horror Movie Podcast and the Land of the Creeps horror podcast. He is also the mastermind behind DVDInfatuation.com, a movie review blog where he is watching and posting one review every day until he reaches at least 2,500 movie reviews. Follow Doc on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation.

The Cannibal Films of the ‘70s and ‘80s (such as “The Man from Deep River,” “Jungle Holocaust,” and of course, the granddaddy of them all, “Cannibal Holocaust”) were notorious for their violence, some of which was very real. With “The Green Inferno,” writer / director Eli Roth succeeds in bringing the subgenre into modern times without diluting its shock value, giving his audience plenty of the blood and gore that made these earlier films so infamous while, at the same time, providing us with characters and situations that fit neatly into the 21st century.

College freshman Justine (Lorenza Izzo) develops a crush on Alejandro (Ariel Levy), the leader of the University’s activist organization. After being urged by Jonah (Aaron Burns), himself a member of Alejando’s team, to attend the group’s meetings, Justine slowly starts to believe in their causes, and even agrees to accompany them to Peru, where Alejandro, Jonah, and the others, including Kara (Ignacia Allamond), Lars (Daryl Sabara), Amy (Kirby Bliss Blanton), Samantha (Magda Apanowicz), and Daniel (Nicolas Martinez), intend to thwart a company’s plan to destroy a large portion of Rainforest, which will leave an entire indigenous tribe with no place to call home. Ignoring the warnings of both her father, a lawyer for the United Nations; and her roommate Alyssa (Sky Ferreira), Justine flies to Peru, full of hope that the mission of mercy she and the others are undertaking will be a success.

What they find instead is a nightmare, and many of them will never wake from it.

In most cannibal movies, the poor souls who venture into the jungles of South America do so blindly and deserve what they get. The film crew in “Cannibal Holocaust” features some of the most despicable characters in horror history, and even the twentysomethings in 2007’s “Welcome to the Jungle” are so idiotic that it’s hard to give a damn what happens to them. The young men and women in “The Green Inferno,” however, are somewhat different in that their intentions are good (well, most of them, anyway; from the moment he first appeared on screen, I knew Ariel Levy’s Alejandro was going to be an insufferable prick). That said, they are definitely naïve: even during such throwaway moments as the rickshaw rides, you get a sense that these kids are way out of their element and heading for a world of trouble they aren’t prepared to face. Yet, thanks to the performances of the film’s young cast, we admire both the characters and their motives, which makes the later scenes all the more difficult to watch.

It’s to Roth’s credit that well before the cannibals turn up, “The Green Inferno” has already dragged us to the edge of our seats. The sequence when the kids stage their Peruvian protest is absolutely nerve-wracking, as is the plane crash that soon follows it. Thanks to these scenes, the audience is already on pins and needles when the gore and barbarity take center stage, and as a result the movie’s second half is almost too much to bear.

“The Green Inferno” does have its problems. I could have done without the entire marijuana scene (boy, did that feel out of place), and a sequence hinting at female genital mutilation (which is first brought up early on, when Justine is attending a college lecture on the subject) struck me as an unnecessary detour. Also, Roth’s late attempt to generate sympathy for the native tribe fails miserably, mostly because he’s already dedicated such a large portion of the movie to building up our animosity toward them.

Still, “The Green Inferno” is both slick and unflinching, and contains enough blood and guts to satisfy even the most insatiable gore hound. And, perhaps most welcome of all, the movie does justice to the Cannibal films of old without getting caught in some of the subgenre’s more unfortunate pitfalls (Though I can’t say for certain, I don’t think any animals were harmed during the making of this movie).

— Dr. Shock

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15 thoughts on “31 Days of Halloween — Day 3: The Green Inferno (2015) — by Dr. Shock

  1. Just finished watching Feed for the first time, enjoyed the chase, the cat and mouse of the detective trying to track Michael the feeder down , cazy film, I hope they were body suits, anyone who has seen this will know what I mean, I liked the ending didn’t see it coming, anyway 6/10 it’s worth one watch. And now I’ve put on green inferno, more eating lol, will give it a score when iv finished it


    Day 03 – Friend Request (2016)

    In 2015, I had the misfortune of watching the found footage film, Unfriended. The only real positive I can say about the movie is that it had me laughing quite a bit. Considering it was a full fledged horror without any intentional comedy, that’s not exactly a good thing though. With the news of Friend Request being released a year later, I expected a similar awful movie. In fact, one of the foreign titles for Friend Request is actually Unfriend. Yet, it only took the first twenty or so minutes of Friend Request before I realized that not only was this a superior film, but it’s everything that Unfriended wishes it was.

    Particularly when it comes to the first half of the film, I was comparing it with Unfriended at every turn. It’s only natural since the basic set-up is very similar. It’s also where the film begin getting things right. For starters, the set-up for why the spirit is going after these teenagers makes far more sense and is less embarrassing. This is not a case of a mean girl embarrassed by shitting herself on a viral video killing herself. Instead, the spirit in Friend Request, Marina, is a deeply disturbed and lonely girl that is already hanging together mentally by a thread. Once she loses all reason to remain “Sane” due to Laura not accepting her over zealous attempts at friendship, Marina snaps. Sure, Marina is a bit over the top with her behavior and the portrayal of her being such an outsider, but it fits well enough.

    In the first half of the film, everything is going along well. Protagonist, Laura, is a likable character that the viewer would prefer not to see harmed. We’re introduced to her inner circle of friends with some of them being given some character traits. Marina is an effectively creepy character, even before she seemingly commits suicide. Once the body count begins, there’s some tense haunting-like scenes that I’ll admit had me jumping a few times. The problems begins as we near the final act with two issues that stands out for me.

    First off, the handling of the potential love interests for Laura was poorly written. It’s almost as if new writers came aboard halfway into the script and switched the endings for Laura’s boyfriend, Tyler, and Laura’s ex, Kobe. At no time whatsoever did I ever care about Tyler. There wasn’t anything to his character. Furthermore, I don’t believe the viewers were supposed to care for him either since he was actively trying to dissuade Laura from exploring the mystery of Marina and avoid hanging out with Kobe (Despite the fact that Kobe’s computer knowledge could really help Laura), which goes against what the viewers want to see since if Laura doesn’t do anything, there isn’t a movie to watch. Meanwhile, there’s Kobe. I liked Kobe. Right away, he’s given something that Tyler never had – a clear interest in Laura. Even though Kobe and Laura have been broken up for a while, Kobe still pines for her and we’re given the impression that he’d do anything for her. In addition, Kobe is there helping Laura out at every turn. Granted, this will be a major spoiler, but at the end of the film, it’s Kobe who attempts to kill Laura to save himself (The Marina spirit won’t try to remove all of Laura’s friends if she’s dead) while Tyler sacrifices himself in order to try and save Laura. That reversal didn’t do anything for me when it would have made far more sense for Tyler to try and kill Laura to save himself and since he’s feeling some jealousy over Laura getting close with her ex again. By doing what they did, they ruined a likable character in Kobe and kept Tyler from being revealed as a great villain in the film.

    The other problem I had was the exploration in Marina’s past. For me, all I needed to know is that Marina was deeply disturbed and formed an unhealthy attachment on Laura. Once Laura rebuffed her advances, Marina decided to make her pay through her knowledge of the occult. Yet, so much of the second half is focused on Marina’s childhood and exploring places that once was significant for her. Learning about her mother, dealing with fellow orphan bullies, and mutilating the faces of those bullies didn’t add anything of value to the story. If anything, it made the story too convoluted and made it less believable. I can buy into the idea that some poor girl has such poor social skills that she becomes a total headcase. However, a baby who was born from a woman burned alive, spent her childhood looking up twisted things online (Talk about a severe lack of adult supervision), killing/mutilating children, and now being such a mystery that it was nearly impossible to find a single fact about her, was far less believable. Sometimes, keeping things simple is for the best.

    Overall, Friend Request is a slightly above average direct-to-video horror that exceeded my terribly low expectations. Marina is creepy and provides a couple of good jump scares. The illustrations throughout the film are fantastic. Most of the characters are just likable enough that you feel some disappointment that they’re being punished for practically not doing anything wrong. At the same time, the writing in the second half leaves a lot to be desired and at no time were we ever given an explanation for why Marina handpicked Laura to be her obsession. I’m not bothered about the actual reason, but I would have preferred to be told some reason. Friend Request isn’t a film to go out of your way to watch, but it is one I’d greatly recommend if you’d like to see a better version of Unfriended with some The Ring aspects thrown in for good measure.

    Rating: 5/10

  3. Ok doc shock , just finished green inferno, you have it spot on sir, it’s a gorgeous looking film , the plane crash is great but after two people flying out of the back, the copilot getting his head smashed they stop and the leader says “is everyone alright” , I had to laugh. The beginning bit about women circumcision is to get you ready for later as that’s what’s there going to do to are virgin leading lady,
    But I have to agree with you on the end, I mean really, wtf, I would of been happy to napalm this tribe at the end.
    Maybe Eli Roth was trying to do some sort of twist?
    If someone’s knows a better reason please let know

  4. I watched Noroi: The Curse for Day 3, and my mind is blown. Some thoughts are coming soon, but I want to try and process in my mind what my eyes just saw.

    Has anyone else seen it?

  5. For Day 3, I went with some lighter fare with Scary Movie 2. The jokes are very dated to 2001, but I’ve seen all the movies so it’s still funny to me.

    My kids would never get the Charlie’s Angels, Mission Impossible 2, or The Haunting remake references now.

  6. Day 3: Noroi: The Curse (2005)

    Rating: 10/10 (buy it/must see!)

    Note: This is probably my favorite horror movie I’ve seen since It Follows, and likely tops my mockumentary/found footage list. And, while I think the mockumentary style absolutely works, I’d love to see a conventionally shot remake of this story.

    — — — — — Contains mild spoilers — — — — —

    What I liked:
    – The story and mystery elements are the stars of this film, while some of the imagery is the most striking I’ve seen.
    – The mystery explored by the film unfolds like an expertly crafted puzzle, with each subsequent piece revealing an increasingly disturbing picture.
    – The dark sense of dread and tension that builds as the movie progresses.
    – How the film utilizes a wide range of footage, from purpose-shot documentary footage to “archival footage” taken from variety TV shows to found footage.
    – The pacing of the film managed to keep me engaged throughout the nearly 2 hours runtime.
    – The found footage elements are sparse, but woven into the film with great effect.
    – The story comes together nicely in the end, but still leaves a few things open to interpretation.

    What I didn’t like:
    – I’m still unsure whether this was something I didn’t like, but the filmmakers would go back and freeze the video footage on certain key elements to make sure the viewer didn’t miss them; I wonder if it would have been more effective to just let the viewer wonder if they just saw what they thought they saw. (Again, not sure this is a real drawback, though)
    – ^That’s all I got.

  7. Day 3: Holidays (2016)

    ————SPOILERS BELOW————
    Um…….where should I begin here? Haha. Holidays is a horror anthology of 8 horror stories focusing on, wait for it, holidays. Initially I thought I would rate the movie as a whole, but rating each segment makes more sense, as I enjoyed some (waaaaaay) more than others.

    Valentine’s Day: Very Carrie-esque (without the telekinesis). A high school girl is bullied by members of her swim team. She has illusions that her swim coach is in love with her. Her swim coach, who is in need of a new heart, takes pity on her and sends her a valentine, which leads her to believe that she was correct in her assumption. She follows the girl who bullies her the most, and kills her in the woods. She then arrives on the doorstep of her swim coach, clutching the bully’s heart in her hands. My rating: A solid start to the film, 7.5/10.

    St. Patrick’s Day: I’ll start this by saying that I had no idea snakes were in any way involved with St. Patrick’s Day. Learn something new everyday. Anyhoo, a young teacher becomes pregnant, only to find out that she is having a…serpent. A student in her class is apparently involved with this snake business, and I think I blocked most of this one out, because all I remember next is the teacher in the tub, giving birth to a big ass snake. Rosemary’s Baby was name-dropped in this segment and I think rightly so. My rating: Things are starting to get weird and icky in this film, but I still enjoyed this segment. 7/10

    Easter: I don’t even know what to say about this segment. The Easter Bunny is apparently a mixture between a rabbit, zombie, and Jesus. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I hated this segment, so I rated it a 2/10.

    Mother’s Day: A woman becomes pregnant every time she has sex. She is abducted by a coven of witches who cannot conceive and is held out in the desert until she gives birth to….something. Yikes. 5/10.

    Father’s Day: This one could have been my favorite segment. A girl (Jocelin Donahue from The House of the Devil) receives a cassette tape from her estranged father, who is apparently to talking to her as a child on the tape. The tension builds to the end and then…what? Really unsure of what the writer was trying to convey but they didn’t pull it off very well. I still give it a 6/10.

    Halloween (directed by Kevin Smith): A sicko is running an internet web cam sex business and upsets his girls on Halloween. He finds himself in a room with a vibrator in his, um, behind, that is connected to a car battery. His girls are watching him on the web cam and zap him with the vibrator when he says something they don’t like. I wasn’t crazy about this one, but I like the idea that karma is a bitch. 5.5/10

    Christmas: Pete (the always amazing Seth Green) is the parent who waits until the last minute to buy his kid the coveted Christmas present they’ve asked for, which is a virtual reality device. The guy in the store before him purchases the last one and he follows him out to the parking lot trying to get him to sell the device. The man refuses and leaves. Pete finds the man dying in the parking lot, clutching at his pills. Instead of helping him, Pete grabs the VR device from the man’s car and lets him die. Long story short, he and his wife see interesting thoughts and visions from the other in the VR device. This one is my favorite, and I give it a 9/10.

    New Year’s Eve: A psychopath hooks up with a young woman on New Year’s Eve and has dinner with her. It’s a terribly awkward date, but she keeps it going and even invites him back to her apartment to watch the ball drop. At her apartment, the man goes to the restroom, preparing to kill her. Here he finds a medicine cabinet and tub full of body parts in a cool little twist. She breaks into the bathroom and they scuffle. She kills him with an axe to the head. Unexpected ending and I dug it. 8/10.

    I was initially repulsed by this film. I didn’t know what to think or say about it, but now that I’ve had time to digest what I saw I think I will end up revisiting this one. It’s a good one for the Halloween season and I call it a rental.

  8. Day 3: The Last Man on Earth (1964)
    Rating: 7/10

    This was my first time watching this film and I loved it! I put it off for so long because the premise seemed boring but there’s more action and horror than I thought.

  9. Day 3 – Cold Prey

    A reasonably good slasher movie in a fun location with likable enough characters. Slasher movies are rare in the new millennium, and this is one of the better ones. For me though, it’s not unique enough for it to really be special or memorable in my mind. I do worry that the absolutely atrocious English dubs on this film detracted from my experience. If you can find it, watch this movie in its original language with subtitles.

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