Cannibalism is a fear that has haunted movie audiences for more than a century, since the exoticizing ethnographic works of Martin and Osa Johnson, as well as the 1917 comedy A Pirate Bold, which may have been the first cinematic depiction of humans intending to boil other humans alive in a giant pot. Now the old-fashioned idea of cannibalistic tribes dwelling deep in the jungle is back and mashed with the Eli Roth brand of bloody horror.
Roth’s The Green Inferno, which made its debut nearly two years ago at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, is finally hitting theaters this fall, and its first official trailer can be viewed above. The premise has a group of student environmentalists crash landing in the Peruvian Amazon, where they are captured by natives who want to eat them. As far as I can tell, though, the traditional pot is absent in favor of the young cast being killed in other, more creative ways.
Apparently the ironic situation is that the students went to Peru to help this tribe, whose rain forest home was under threat from encroaching civilization and development and industry. And they do manage to help, at least temporarily. Then, the big thanks they get is to be invited over for dinner. Where they’re the dinner. Oops. Is Roth trying to tell us that helping people and activism isn’t worth it?
Adam Charles reviewed the movie for us at Fantastic Fest in 2013, and he wasn’t much of a fan. He wrote:
it’s familiar Roth territory, only with blunt teeth instead of power drills and disease. This is also where the single impressive element of the picture begins in the exceptional make-up work and naturalness of the tribe of cannibals. When people die in The Green Inferno they die unforgettably. They die in ways that make you question back-packing or exploring in the same way that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre made you question traveling on anything but a highway. However, the forty-or-so minutes it took to arrive at the village is meaningless.
The Green Inferno opens on September 25th.