Director: Eli Roth
Cast: Lorenza Izzo, Aaron Burns, Daryl Sabara
Release Date: Available on Blu-Ray & DVD January 5, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
New York college student Justine (Lorenza Izzo) meets student activist Alejandro (Ariel Levy) when he goes on a hunger strike on behalf of underpaid janitors. Smitten, she agrees to help Alejandro undertake his next project: rescuing an Amazon village from destruction by a greedy multinational corporation. But Justine soon comes to regret her decision when their plane crashes in the Peruvian jungle and the students realize they are not alone. No good deed goes unpunished as the well-meaning students are captured by the cannibalistic tribe they came to save.
When young college student Justine (Izzo) becomes involved with a local activist group and heads out with the group on a well intentioned trip to Peru in order to shut down the destruction of precious rain forest which is resulting in the mass murders of local villages and tribes ensconced within. After accomplishing the task which they set out to do, they take off via plane to begin making their way back home, but their on-board celebration may be a bit premature as the plane crashes in the middle of the jungle and the surviving activists are gathered and held by a group of villagers after being mistaken for the individuals they came to stop. One by one their numbers begin to dwindle as terrifying acts of cruelty and torture are enacted upon them by the people of the tribe. With time running short the remaining survivors must find a way to escape before they meet the same grisly fate as their friends.
One element I wanted to briefly address which I’ve seen a fair amount of discussion about regarding the Blu-ray release of ‘The Green Inferno’ is the tagging of ‘The Director’s Cut’ prominently displayed on the front of the case as well as the sides. While unfortunately I have no clear answer on the matter, I’ve collected as many facts on the subject as possible. While I can definitely confirm that the artwork notes it as ‘The Director’s Cut’ there is no mention of it anywhere else, nor is there more than one cut included on the release as Universal commonly tends to do when offering an Unrated or Director’s Cut of a film. Another very interesting confliction is that as far as I’ve been able to uncover, no secondary version of the film (such as a director’s cut) seems to have been passed through the MPAA for a rating (although strangely the official film ratings website lists ‘The Green Inferno: The Director’s Cut’ as an alternate title), and while most extended cuts are indeed simply released unrated, the version included on this Blu-ray release also clearly displays an R rating with a rating reason identical to that of the theatrical cut, not merely on the case but both before and after the film when viewing. The listed run time on the other hand suggests an additional minute on the Blu-ray disc (it runs a few seconds shy of 101 minutes). Unfortunately all of these facts are somewhat baffling and contradictory to one another and therefore leave no clear conclusion on the matter. I realize this may be upsetting to some, yet considering the confusion I’ve seen trickling about I nonetheless wanted to address the matter.
Directed by well known horror filmmaker Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel, Knock Knock) who (as many of you are surely already aware) I’ve personally been a huge fan of since his debut film ‘Cabin Fever’ in 2002, ‘The Green Inferno’ also marks Roth’s first directorial outing since ‘Hostel Part 2’ in 2007 although that’s not for a lack of activity in the filmmaking industry as he’s compiled quite a collection of regular collaborators and associates over recent years which have already yielded some impressive films such as ‘The Stranger’ and ‘Aftershock’. In addition to directing, Roth also co-wrote ‘The Green Inferno’ with regular collaborator Guillermo Amoedo (Aftershock, The Stranger). The film includes a cast consisting of both regular collaborators of Roth’s as well as some new faces to his work including Lorenza Izzo (Aftershock, Knock Knock), Ariel Levy (Aftershock), Aaron Burns (The Stranger, Knock Knock), Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids, Rob Zombie’s Halloween), Nicolás Martínez (Aftershock) and a number more, most of whom deliver competent performances at the very least in each of their respective roles.
‘The Green Inferno’ is a blood soaked throwback to classic cannibalism films and as publicly stated by Roth himself and in many ways an homage to one of his favorite films ‘Cannibal Holocaust’. Fans of Roth’s work will find some mild similarities to some of his previous work in the pacing, namely the focusing on character buildup and more lighthearted activity occupying the first half of the film, with the carnage taking front and center for the latter half. And when the carnage begins, it hits full force and delivers what are easily some of the most grotesque and gore-filled sequences to hit the big screen in some time, while Roth sprinkles bits of humor and goofiness in throughout which helps level out the tension and oddly enough manages to make the film’s tone seem more comedic than brutal in a number of instances, although at times elevating the humor to an unnecessary level.
Overall, ‘The Green Inferno’ is an entertaining, carnage fueled and surprisingly humorous cannibalism film and the long awaited return to the director’s chair for Eli Roth who does a solid job at the helm and manages to capture some true beauty in the surroundings to balance out the bloodshed. For fans of Roth’s work and genre fans in general, I would definitely recommend checking out ‘The Green Inferno’, even more so for such fans of classic cannibalism films such as ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ who are sure to enjoy this one far more than myself considering their appreciation of the material from which it was spawned.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Green Inferno’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic, delivering an impressively sharp and detailed presentation from start to finish that perfectly captures the natural surrounding beauty and landscapes so prominently on display in the film. It holds up solidly even during the darkly lit and fast moving sequences, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected in the slightest, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is an impressive high definition video presentation that should easily please.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds outstanding, providing a consistently clean, sharp and hard hitting audio presentation. It frequently utilizes all five available channels in order to fully envelop the viewer in the world of the forest these characters arrive at, constant animal and nature-related auditory effects swarming throughout the channels along with some village/crowd chatter and the occasionally eerie noise, yet never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a top notch 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Green Inferno’ doesn’t include a great deal in the way of supplemental material, although it does include a couple of nice extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director/Co-Writer/Producer Eli Roth, Producer Nicolás López, and Stars Lorenza Izzo, Aaron Burns, Daryl Sabara, and Kirby Bliss Blanton’. A ‘Photo Gallery’ with an impressive collection of images is also included.