Italian cinema was marked with genre waves over the decades whether it be swords and sandal epics, Spaghetti Westerns, Giallo or Poliziesco. By the late ’70s, the movie houses of Italy were emptying out with television finally getting its act together. The exploitation producers were having issues trying to compete with Hollywood’s big budget science fiction that had become the rage after Star Wars. So filmmakers went somewhere were neither Hollywood or television could go: Cannibalism. They would flee the streets of Rome and tromp deep in various jungles to capture the tribes that feasted on the flesh of their enemies and strangers. In the post Night of the Living Dead world, the directors and their special effects crews did their best to make audiences think they were really seeing people devoured on camera. Quite a few were effective enough that they had to appear in court to prove they didn’t feature real human sacrifices. Others got in trouble for their gruesome animal footage. The main selling point of these films was declaring they’d been banned in dozens of countries. As Italian genre waves go, Cannibal films proved rather small with barely two dozen titles. But they did have an impact at grindhouses and your rather sleazy mom and pop videostores. One person they had an impact on was horror filmmaker Eli Roth (Hostel). He reintroduced the genre in 2015 with The Green Inferno which paid homage to a time when actors were cast by their ability to look good while being eaten up.
Justine (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘s Lorenza Izzo) is a freshman in college looking to do more to help the world. She meets Alejandro (Aftershock‘s Ariel Levy) and Kara (Knock Knock‘s Ignacia Allamand) and wants to be part of their plan to stop deforestation in the Amazon rain forest. They fly down to stop the cutting down of trees and the displacement of native tribes. But instead of merely holding up signs, they have cellphones that will live stream their protest of the men with chains saws and heavy equipment. At first it doesn’t look good when the loggers armed guards are going to take out the kids since who would notice a bunch of dead students so deep in the woods? But once they realize that the protest is going out live over the internet, a peace is restored. The protest is successful. The students feel good at their success. They made a difference. However the party ends pretty quick when their plane ride home hits a nasty snag. In the aftermath, the students get to meet the locals who they just “saved.” Turns out they want to do more than express gratitude to the brave young students. Very quickly the kids learn that there’s something more disgusting in the world than the food served at the university’s dining hall. Is there any hope for the students or are they just going to get swallowed up by the jungle after they get devoured by the locals?
The Green Inferno does a fine job of adapting the cannibal movie for the 21st Century. Having the kids be campus protestors using social media streaming to give their story an immediate impact is the perfect update. Eli Roth also has a bunch of kids who were pretty much as unknown as the actors who played the local cannibals. So we don’t kind get clued into which kids get to argue if their BBQ or grilled. Nobody appears beyond getting hacked up and served. The end of the film has a few beats from Cannibal Ferox, but what’s the point of making a cannibal film that doesn’t cannibalize other cannibal movies? The special effects are gruesome and might make weaker stomachs lose their contents. The Green Inferno will make you see the benefit of supporting worldwide efforts with a couple hashtags from the safety of your sofa.
The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the greens and reds of the jungle. The Blu-ray brings out the details of the remote location. The audio is 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio Surround. There’s also the DTS-HD MA Stereo mix if you don’t have extra speakers around the room. The movie is subtitled in English.
Audio Commentary features Eli Roth, producer Nicolas Lopez and actors Lorenza Izzo, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton and Daryl Sabara. It’s a cast hanging out a week after the movie opened. They remember their time in Peru.
Into the Green Inferno with Eli Roth (50:25) has him talk about encountering the missionaries who dropped by in the middle of the village after it had been converted to a cannibal town. He wasn’t a big fan of the Italian cannibal films until he saw Cannibal Holocaust. He also talks about Cannibal Ferox. He does a nice job talking about the history of the genre.
Uncivilized Behavior – Acting in The Green Inferno (34:54) talks about how do you act in a cage in the jungle. They were extremely remote when they left the college location.
Behind-the-scenes Footage (55:26) shows what went on behind the camera. It’s a sweaty crew.
Making-Of Featurette (15:57) shows how far into the jungle the crew went to capture forest beauty.
Lorenza Izzo Featurette (1:15) talks about working on the Amazon while still in the jungle.
Meet the Villagers Featurette (1:23) mentions this is the farthest up the Amazon a theatrical crew has gone to shoot a movie.
Amazon Jungle Featurette (1:24) is more talk about how far they went to the location.
Theatrical Trailer (2:11) sets up the protest that went bad for the students when they tried to make a difference.
TV Spots (2:10) has the locals greeting the out of town guests.
Movie Gallery (5:00) are promotional pictures of the cast.
Behind the Scenes Gallery (12:34) are stills shot on location including Eli Roth hanging with the kids.
Village Construction Gallery (3:03) has the crew putting up cages and huts.
Storyboards and Makeup Tests Gallery (6:25) shows the tribal markings of the locals.
Publicity Gallery (1:19) includes the various posters from around the world.
Soundtrack on a CD with bonus tracks. This is perfect music to play while grilling up dinner.
Scream Factory presents The Green Inferno. Directed by Eli Roth. Screenplay by: Eli Roth & Guillermo Amoedo. Starring: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Sky Ferreira & Magda Apanowicz. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 100 minutes. Released: June 25, 2019.
Tags: Eli Roth, Scream Factory, The Green INferno