Tag Archives: cannibal

Review: ‘The Green Inferno’

'The Green Inferno'
‘The Green Inferno’
Eli Roth’s tribute to the grotty cannibal movies of the late 1970s is horrifying to behold, perhaps even more so because it’s far easier to empathize with his characters than in his past works.

They are a bright and engaging lot, a passionate group of environmentalists who want to save the rain forest. College freshman Justine (Lorenza Izzo) is initially attracted by the smoky good looks of Alejandro (Ariel Levy), a charismatic protester, but the group’s intentions strike a chord. Like many young people, she’s been looking for a movement that she can get behind. And besides, Alejandro is so cute!

Soon enough, Justine finds herself the least-experienced protester in the group, yet nonetheless flying down to South America. She receives brisk instructions as the group proceeds to their destination, attempting to halt construction crews from clearing the forest for new development, but is a bit dismayed to find herself tied up to a tree. Alejandro turns even more fiery toward the construction workers, but his callous disregard of Justine’s feelings, as well as her realization that he’s already involved with one of the other protesters, cools her personal leanings toward him.

Still, the protest succeeded, and everyone is happy, until the plane develops mechanical problems and crash lands in the jungle. Not everyone survives, but the survivors will envy the dead very soon, because they have landed in the territory of a native tribe that always appreciates new sources of protein, such as defenseless humans.

From there, it’s clear where the movie will go: heartless cannibals versus victims who will soon be without hearts. How could that turn out to be anything but gruesome, especially in the hands of Eli Roth?

Roth, as you might expect, takes things to extremes in his depiction of the cruel, explicit violence visited upon the protesters, who are absolutely helpless, caged in public view, where they soon turn against one another. What makes the violence more disturbing is that the protesters are young, earnest, and idealistic. Occasionally they come across as shrill or overbearing, but, frankly, that describes nearly all the protesters I’ve known in real life: the issues that they are up in arms about are more important to them than how they present themselves.

Now, that changes later in the story, but the more sympathetic, recognizable nature of nearly everyone in the group creates a rooting interest for the audience, which is especially important since we know their chances for survival are extremely slim. Make no mistake, however, the violence, when it comes, is extremely bloody and gory, which may be stomach-turning for more sensitive viewers (who probably shouldn’t be watching this movie, anyway).

If you are an adventurous horror movie fan, The Green Inferno is likely to keep you up at night, watching characters get torn apart, and hoping against hope that some of them will survive.

Indie Weekend: ‘We Are What We Are,’ ‘Win Win’

We Are What We Are
The family that eats together, stays together? (IFC Films)

After Hannibal Lecter made cannibalism sexy, what could be left to say on the subject? Along comes We Are What We Are, from Spain, which asks: “What about the kids?”

In the opening moments, a man drops dead on the sidewalk. A closer look indicates that the older gentleman must have been in very bad shape for a very long time, but then we pick up with three younger people and their mother, and we begin to understand the problems faced by a family of cannibals in modern times. Mainly, it’s this: Nobody likes cannibals, dude. And it’s tough to find fresh bodies to feast upon, without detection by outsiders.

Also, the public doesn’t like to be eaten alive.

The film, directed by Jorge Grau, keeps to the shadows and maintains a very dark tone. That’s fitting, since it’s how the family lives their lives, not so much out of choice as by a desire to survive. But should they stay live, if it means killing others in order to satisfy their primal needs? The three teenagers, two boys and a girl, are wrestling with that dilemma. Every fiber of their bodies compels them to eat human flesh, while their minds are fighting a war to the death with their emotions.

We Are What We Are is very much a family drama, with a measure of blood and guts, but it doesn’t motor along like your standard horror movie. Adjust your expectations for a deliberate pace and thoughtful consideration, and allow the movie’s power to build.

The film opens today at the Texas Theatre for a one-week run.

Win Win
Paul Giamatti urges a wrestler on to victory. (Fox Searchlight)

Paul Giamatti is an eminently fascinating actor, especially when he’s playing a less than lovable character, as in Barney’s Version, which is still playing at the Angelika Dallas and very much worth watching. In Win Win, the new film by Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor), Giamatti plays an attorney who also coaches a high school wrestling team.

Unfortunately, I missed multiple opportunities to see the film in advance, but John Meyer of Pegasus News says in his review that Giamatti “is, as usual, wonderful, though a bit less manic here than in other of his signature roles — a feature I find quite refreshing.” Here’s a little more from John’s review:

Leave it to writer/director Tom McCarthy to remind us in compelling fashion that you don’t need special effects, “ripped from the headlines” sensationalism, or (God forbid) 3D to make a movie so good it hurts. All you need, it turns out, are talented actors, an intelligent script, and characters who seem to be actual humans rather than — well — characters in a movie.

Win Win opens today at the Landmark Magnolia and Angelika Plano.