The Green Inferno (2013)

Don’t think. Act.

The Green Inferno opens on an idyllic campus in  New York City The main character, Justine is woken early on a Sunday morning by protestors on her campus quad. The protestors threaten to starve themselves until campus agrees to provide health insurance to janitors. The group seems big on campus, but seems to be ignored by most of campus.

Justine is a normal college student who finds herself like most, in a new world. She is learning new things that she finds disturbing, but finds herself unable to make any noticeable changes.

When the campus protestors are finally able to make a difference and get the aforementioned health care, Justine is curious. She finds that the members of the group have what she lacks: action. She soon agrees to go with them into the Peruvian jungle to stop an unreached tribe from being destroyed by developers. Despite being warned by her father and her down to earth friend, Justine boards a plane and descends into the jungle. The film does not do anything to hide the obvious truth; these are young naive college students who believe they can change the world. They are not yet old enough to realize this is a bad idea.

After they arrive, reality hits. They soon realize their only defense against the Peruvian militia is their numbers and their sleek camera phones. Alejandro, their leader manages to keep them in line however though guilt. Guilt is a huge character in this film. He uses guilt of their American lifestyle, their naiveté. to get them into the jungle with him to fight against the perceived evil.

The college students soon find themselves in the Amazon jungle on their way to camp. There a few incidents along the way, including Lars being forced to defend himself against a giant tarantula but none of the students seem to see these as a problem. In fact, even the sight of a lethal killing machine is taken as a good omen.

Once they reach their destination, they dress up as the other workers, and chain themselves to the equipment and the trees while the workers are on lunch. A bomb goes off and the protest begins. Unfortunately plans quickly go awry, when Justin’s lock fails to engage.  Little does she realize, that her new friends are using her and that she is there intended martyr. They are aware her farther works for the UN, and are using her as a bargaining chip.

Things work out quickly however, and they are released. Justine is of course upset, but Alejandro guilts her into letting it go. Their actions have caused a ripple effect and they are being broadcast by all the major television and news stations. The students were able to stop the trees from being cut down and stop the encroachment of the builders, and are soon homebound. However, something goes wrong and the plane comes down into the forest.

At this point, the students begin to appreciate what situation they are in. A few students are die in the crash, and no one escapes injury. Just as they begin to formulate a plan, they are attacked by the very tribe they were attempting to protect. The survivors are quickly knocked out by poisoned blow darts and taken back to the tribe’s camp.

A quick stroll into camp, the students begin to understand exactly why this tribe has been uncontacted. There are bodies on pikes and remains all over the place. The group is herded into a pen, but Jonah, one of their group, is given something to drink and tied to a rock. The high priestess of the tribe, then begins to eat him. Because the film was directed by Eli Roth, there is really no shying away from the gore. He is disarticulated and while the other tribe members and his friends look on in horror and fascination.  This act confirms what we (the audience) believed from the moment the students were captured. The tribe are cannibals.

Despite their efforts to save this Peruvian tribe, the students find themselves being lumped in with the enemy.  They are witnessing the culture they think they know from school lessons and lectures. When they learn that the very actions that brought them there were a PR stunt, all hope is lost. At this point, Alejandro delivers the unabashed truth for the first time. This is how the real world works; everything is connected, the good guys and the bad guys.

Director and writer Eli Roth spares no expense. We witness blood, gore and defecation. It is no surprise then, when we the girls find themselves raped in front of the villagers. Justine is taken after she is found to be a virgin. When one of their group escapes, there is a slight hope, until the captives realize they are being fed her remains. Unable to take the thought of what is happening to them, Samantha a lovely co-ed with extreme IBS, commits suicide. She becomes the next meal for the villagers. Unbeknownst to them, she comes with an extra ingredient: weed.

With the villagers either unconscious or high out of their minds, two manage to escape: a student named Daniel and Justine. Unfortunately, Justine soon finds herself battling for her life in the swift moving Amazon.  Once they are able to get free, they journey back to the plane’s crash site. A frantic search for the a working phone begins. They finally manage to find one, but then are quickly recaptured. Justine is then forced to undergo FGM. Daniel is killed by fire ants.

Just as the villagers are about to cut into Justine, they are distracted by their village being invaded by the workers who are after the trees. Justine sizes this moment and is able to escape. Her escape route unfortunately takes her right into the conflict with the militia. For some reason, she stops speaking clear English and begins to shout like a crazy person. She is taken away by the militia (again). When given the option of saving Alejandro, who at this point has proven himself to be the worlds biggest asshole, she pretends she is the only surviving member of the group.

In the end Justine, chooses to make the natives the hero of the story. She claims they showed no hostility, and that all of the students were killed in the crash. In this way, she does what she set out to do, and finally takes action.

At the end of the film, I found myself asking, what is the point? Green Inferno does not hide exactly what it is at any point. It is an honest film of what happens when guilt meets inaction. Forced to do something, anything, because they cannot stand to stand by and be idle, the students find themselves learning the cold hard truth about the world and its inhabitants. The world is not waiting around to be saved, so in some cases (as in the case of cannibals) it is best to leave them alone. I still however found the entire thing pointless, as the truly evil one in the entire film was Alejandro. Unfortunately, he becomes a martyr and a new leader for his group quickly springs up in absence. So why? Unfortunately there is no real answer. I think Eli Roth wanted to make a cannibal flick and got his wish.

I really have nothing to say about the throw away ending.

My favorite character was Jonah. Oh, and the kid from Spy Kids makes an awesome appearance. Both meet an unfortunate end.

I give this three out of five stars.






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