The Green Inferno Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Scream Factory
Directed by Eli Roth
Written by Guillermo Amoedo and Eli Roth
2013, 101 minutes, Rated R
Released on June 25th, 2019
Lorenza Izzo as Justine
Ariel Levy as Alejandro
Daryl Sabara as Lars
Kirby Bliss Blanton as Amy
Magda Apanowicz as Samantha
Sky Ferreira as Kaycee
Nicolás Martínez as Daniel
A group of Columbia University student activists charter a flight into the jungles of Peru to protest corporate deforestation. Newcomer Justine wants to make a difference and joins the effort under the leadership of Alejandro, a passionate man always looking for a cause. Justine and the others make the trek, chaining themselves to bulldozers and trees deep in the Amazon. They successfully turn away a heavily armed militia by live-streaming their activities with their phones. On the plane ride home they learn their actions are trending on Twitter and the group celebrates – until the engine blows out, sending everyone crashing down into the jungle below. A handful of survivors emerge from the wreckage and find themselves the targets of a group of hungry cannibals.
The cannibal subgenre hit its stride in the early 1980s with films like Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and Umberto Lenzi’s Cannibal Ferox (1981). These films were rough around the edges and frequently included scenes of animal cruelty making them difficult to watch. The Italians cranked out quite a number of these pictures, most of which tell the story of the unfortunate fate of outsiders encroaching on primitive society. Director Eli Roth (Cabin Fever) is a huge fan of these Grindhouse flicks and when given the opportunity to make his own cannibal movie, he jumped at the chance with The Green Inferno. The screenplay co-written by Roth with Guillermo Amoedo (The Stranger) follows the template of the earlier films focusing on a group of attractive Americans stepping out of their comfort zone for the greater good. Their hearts are in the right place, but they end up being hunted by the very people they were trying to save.
Roth has a wicked sense of humor and goes out of his way to make audiences forget that they are watching a horror movie. He loads the story with quirky characters and lets them interact organically for the first forty-five minutes before yanking the rug out from under them. Once the plane crashes there isn’t time for anything but being captured, as the natives are immediately on the scene with dart guns. Our heroes wake in a large bamboo cage where they are forced to watch one of their friends being brutally murdered and eaten. They try to escape but have trouble eluding their captors and tension mounts as they are forced to wait to see who will be served up next.
Performances are generally strong, but many of the characters are unlikeable archetypes. Interaction with the cannibal culture is the most interesting aspect of this picture. That, and the gorgeous cinematography by Antonio Quercia (Aftershock), who captures the richness of the jungle environment and the bright colors of the natives’ painted bodies. Composer Manuel Riveiro (Knock Knock) taps into the vibe of the ‘80s pictures with his rich score. There’s plenty of gore on display courtesy of Greg Nicotero (Army of Darkness) and Howard Berger (In the Mouth of Madness), who always please with their efforts. Eli Roth has surrounded himself with a highly talented team and rises to the challenge of shooting in the deep jungles of Peru to bring this nightmare to life. He succeeds more often than not, but as much as he loves what came before, he can’t quite recapture the magic of what made those films work. His effort lacks the edge and the sense of danger they evoke. That being said, I can safely say this is the best Amazon cannibal movie I’ve seen in over thirty years – and he doesn’t harm a single animal!
Video and Audio:
Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, this is the same transfer used for Universal’s 2016 Blu-ray release. Colors are bold and particularly striking and black levels are rock solid. There is plenty of small-object detail and flesh tones appear natural throughout.
A DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is engaging with its use of the surround channels, particularly during the plane crash and the numerous jungle sequences. A DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix is also included, but the expanded track is the way to go.
Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.
An audio commentary with co-writer/ director Eli Roth, producer Nicolás López, and actors Lorenza Izzo, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton and Daryl Sabara is a reunion of sorts recorded in 2006, a week after the picture opened in theaters. Everyone is having a fun time recounting the shoot and pointing out their favorite scenes. This is a lively track full of great stories that is well worth checking out.
Eli Roth sits down for the all-new interview Into The Green Inferno (50 minutes) and he has a lot to say about this project. He shares his knowledge of the 1980s cannibal movie craze and how he was inspired to make the film. He offers countless production stories involving the cast and crew, location scouting, the difficult shooting conditions, working with local villagers and filming key special effects sequences like the plane crash. Roth is an affable guy who is really enthusiastic about making movies and I can easily recommend watching this interview.
In Uncivilized Behavior: Method Acting in The Green Inferno (35 minutes), cast members Lorenzo Izzo, Daryl Sabara and Kirby Bliss Blanton recount their experiences working on the picture. They share many entertaining production stories, including meeting Roth, bonding with their co-stars, the difficulties of location shooting and working with the villagers.
Nearly an hour of never-before-seen behind-the-scenes video footage (55 minutes) is presented here and offers a daily perspective of life on the shoot. We get to see Roth directing and working with cast and crew and we also get a look at the filming conditions. There is not a narrative thread, but Roth occasionally addresses the camera during some challenging times.
The original publicity featurette The Making of The Green Inferno (16 minutes) contains interviews with Eli Roth and various cast members. Topics of discussion include the volatile weather in Peru, shooting the plane crash and working with the locals. There is a fair amount of behind-the-scenes footage included too.
Three additional vintage promo videos featuring sound bites from the cast and crew are on hand, including Lorenzo Izzo on Working in the Amazon (1 minute), Meet the Villagers (1 minute) and Amazon Jungle (1 minute)
The theatrical trailer is paired with five TV spots promoting the movie.
There are five photo galleries that play as silent slideshows and the content is self-explanatory, including Behind-the-scenes photos (13 minutes), Village construction (3 minutes), Storyboards and Make-up tests (6 minutes), Publicity (1 minute) and Movie stills (5 minutes).
The exclusive original CD soundtrack by Manuel Riveiro featuring 28 tracks has also been included.
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