Actor/filmmaker Eli Roth has kept busy in recent years by producing lower-budgeted horror fare like The Last Exorcism movies and The Sacrament, as well as RZA’s passion project kung fu throwback The Man with the Iron Fists (which Roth co-wrote), but because of that he hasn’t released a feature as director since Hostel: Part II in 2007. That changes this year, with the arrival of Roth’s latest original gore-ific addition to the horror genre, titled The Green Infero.
Green Inferno, based on a script Roth co-penned with Guillermo Amoedo (Aftershock), follows a group of New York-based student activists who travel to the Amazon, in order to provide care for a dying native South American tribe. However, as the first trailer (see above) so eloquently teases, that scheme doesn’t exactly go according to plan, when it turns out said natives have a taste for human flesh. Perhaps that habit of eating people has something to do with why this tribe is dying out in the first place.
Roth’s latest film made our list of most anticipated horror movies arriving in 2014, and with good reason. Green Inferno, as the MPAA’s classification has made crystal clear – with an R Rating for stuff like “aberrant violence and torture” as well as “grisly disturbing images” – should easily provide horror genre enthusiasts with their fix of nasty onscreen deaths. Similarly, there appear to be pastiche elements here for film history buffs to appreciate – the most obvious being the similarities to 1980 cult horror title Cannibal Holocaust.
Green Inferno, as it were, toured the film festival circuit in 2013 and generated what amounts to mixed/solid word of mouth, over the course of showings at events in Toronto, Brazil, New York City, and Italy. The Wrap‘s review seems to encompass the general feelings so far, describing Roth’s first directorial effort since the second Hostel installment as “a serviceable follow-up to reintroduce audiences to his idiosyncratic brand of horror [but] it fails to either offend or exhilarate.”
That Green Inferno doesn’t feel as innovative as Roth’s past creations, though, isn’t really so surprising, considering that Roth was a trail-blazer of sorts when he made films like Cabin Fever and Hostel back in the early to mid-aughts; over the near-decade that has passed since then, however, the rest of the horror landscape has started to catch up to him.
Nonetheless, Roth the horror director has long infused his work with sick, yet also wry humor and bleak cheekiness (see: his Grindhouse faux-trailer “Thanksgiving”). There’s a lining of dark social commentary to his Hostel films, where obnoxious Americans help to bring about their own doom while traveling in a foreign land, and Green Inferno seems to have a related subtext – one that is inherent to a story about well-meaning, but very naive privileged individuals, who end up causing more damage than they repair with their social cause.
If nothing else, though, Roth fans should be able to appreciate the many twisted ways that the filmmaker concocts for Green Inferno‘s cast of lesser-knowns to be slaughtered onscreen. Gore-hounds, this one seems right up your alley.
The Green Inferno opens in U.S. theaters on September 5th, 2014.