The Green Inferno

A group of student activists travels to the Amazon to save the rain forest and soon discover that they are not alone, and that no good deed goes unpunished.

Lorenza IzzoAriel LevyAaron Burns

Director: Eli Roth • Year: 2013
IMDB Rating: 5.3/10 • My Rating: 3.5/5

My Review

*Spoilers*

After a particularly upsetting lecture about some of the practices still used in the Amazon (namely female circumcision), college student Justine (Izzo) gets involved with an activist group, led by Alejandro (Levy) and his girlfriend Kara (Ignacia Allamand). Spurred on by what she’s learned in class, Justine realises just talking about things isn’t enough and that it’s the doing that counts.

So she finds herself part of a group traveling to the Amazon to save the destruction of the rain forest from a massive logging project. She’s pretty useful to them given her dad is a United Nations attorney and promises to use this connection to raise awareness of the issues at hand.

Our team is made up of a rag tag bunch of pretty much the worst people on the planet, Alejandro being the crown prince of douchery. His do-gooding does not seem to translate into all areas of his personality and he has the compassion of a brick. But he’s easy on the eye and Justine has clocked it – she’s only human after all.

This changes considerably when the group chain themselves to bulldozers and are almost killed by private militia, who are protecting the logging area. BTW the operation has been funded by a drug dealer named Carlos (Matías López), which might tell you all you need to know about the outfit. When Justine is held at gunpoint, Alejandro orders his crew to film everything they see so they can stream it to the world. Kara (I think) goads the machine-gun wielding guard to shoot Justine “and see what happens” – and our heroine starts to question what the fuck she’s doing there.

On the light aircraft home, head thankfully still intact, Justine is pissed off with the smug self-congratulation of her new associates. Nobody seems in the least bit concerned for her welfare despite the video of her near-death experience going viral. Luckily, she’s on her way back home to a comfortable bed, her BFF Kaycee (Sky Ferreira) and her carefree student lifestyle – social activism soon to be a distant memory.

LOL.

When the plane crashes in the forest, their problems really begin. Half the crew are killed in the accident (lucky bastards), while the survivors are captured by a tribe painted red. They kill Kara with arrows and tranqulise the rest of them, dragging them back to their small but perfectly formed village. The remaining group are thrown into a bamboo cage in the square, while one of the boys, Jonah (Aaron Burns) meets the tribe’s female elder, a lovely warm woman who makes him a cup of tea and lets him flick through old back issues of That’s Life magazine while soaking in the tub. Kidding. She pops out both his eyes, cuts off his tongue and severs his arms and legs, before lopping of his head, all while he’s still alive. Then the tribe eat him.

It’s a bad scene, man.

The gang have obviously witnessed everything and are under no illusion about their fate. Even so, Alejandro has enough energy left in him to joke that at least they chose Jonah first because he had the most flesh and will keep the cannibals busy for longer. One of the girls (forgive me, all the blond white girls merge into one) literally shits herself in front of a group of kids, while they mock her. Things can’t get much worse, can they? May I remind you that this is an Eli Roth picture?

To top it all off Alejandro reveals that he staged their protest to benefit a rival logging company and to prove that deforestation is inevitable. WTF.

When the girls are taken away and given a brutal ‘virginity’ test, it is revealed that Justine is still pristine and pure, so she’s taken away to be prepped for a genital-mutilation party. When she’s returned to the cage, the others lament the fact that she’ll never survive the shock and blood loss of being circumcised. Thanks for the PMA, guys.

The friends enjoy a meaty bite to eat, despite Amy’s veganism but when she finds a chunk of her friends’ skin in the dish, signposted by one of her tattoos, she slashes her own throat and dies horribly. Figuring she’ll be on the menu later that evening, Lars (Daryl Sabara) stuffs a bag of marijuana down her throat, the plan being that while the tribe are off their tits, they can try to escape. Alejandro mocks their ‘Scooby Doo plan’ but it kind of works. King Douche manages to tranq Lars before he can get out of the cage though, while Daniel (Nicolás Martínez) and Justine escape. For a time.

Basically, everyone is killed in one nasty way or another except for the chosen one, Justine, who is painted white and red, all ready for her mutilation ceremony. Eventually the tribe get her back where they want her and she’s just about to be sliced up when the militia rock up, a short distance away. This leads most of the tribe away from the village to fight them. Justine has befriended one of the tribe kids and somehow persuades him to free her in the kerfuffle.

On the way out, Alejandro (still in the cage) begs her to take him with her. When she can’t save Daniel, who’s being feasted on by giant ants, she fucks off leaving Alejandro behind – because honestly, screw you man. This has been a very long review so I’ll park it here. There’s a final girl and there are no prizes for guessing who, she’s brunette and a virgin after all. But Justine takes an interesting stand when questioned later about what went down and I think it’s cool.

My Comments

This film appears to have been critically panned and at first I was a little puzzled. I actually enjoyed it. However, most of the criticism is leveled at the depiction of the indigenous people and it is distasteful AF. I mean, sure they’re a tribe untouched by civilization and they have ways that have not been governed yet by any law but would they really be devoid of any humanity at all? I think the answer is probably no.

The circumcision thing is horrid but I don’t really understand why they’d bother with Justine. She’s not a local, so what would they care about her rite of passage? Unless I’ve missed some nuance (which let’s face it, is likely). There’s also a lot of gore and in classic Roth-style it’s not always necessary but is always fun. Jonah’s scene particularly is presented with relish and it is naaaaaasty, girl.

However, what I do like are two key things. Roth’s take on the White Saviour complex which seems even more relevant today actually – and the way he ties it up at the end. Justine’s final activism isn’t to demonize the tribe further and have them punished horribly, but to accept that she shouldn’t have been there in the first place. I haven’t seen this done in such a way anywhere else that I can remember and I dug it.

I really disliked most of the activists too and there’s no way that’s a coincidence. In all honesty, Jonah and Daniel, along with Justine were probably the best of the bunch but beyond that I was rooting for the tribes people. That eye-popping scene though, man. 👀

What are you watching?

The Bad Batch (Film) Review

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Two years ago Jill and I reviewed A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, one of the best films I’ve ever seen. While Jill has a brief hiatus after her trip (back to business as usual next week), I thought I’d weigh in on AGWHAAT director Ana Lily Amirpour‘s second feature length film, The Bad Batch.

This movie appears to have very much split opinion, as some of the best ones do but the question is, is it actually any good?

*Some spoilers, but they’ll be accidental*

The Bad Batch (2016)

IMDB Synopsis

A love story set in a community of cannibals in a future dystopia. In a desert wasteland in Texas, a muscled cannibal breaks one important rule: don’t play with your food.

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Why so serious?

My Review

In Amirpour’s dystopian universe, there’s a group of people referred to as The Bad Batch. Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is one of them for an undisclosed reason. The movie opens with her being tattooed with a number and then dumped into a fenced-in area just outside Texas.

This is, according to a sign on the fence, soil no longer considered part of America and therefore US laws do not apply here. This can only be a bad scene, man.

No sooner has Arlen been dropped off, she runs into some trouble with two dudes in a golf cart (men: always there to fuck up your life). She wakes after being captured to find herself in chains, and then things get really bad for her. Turns out her new friends are cannibals and they’re only interested in one thing.

The cannibal community seems to thrive on this meat heavy diet as for the most part they’re all oiled and buff body builder types. And none are more muscular than Miami Man (Jason Momoa) who appears to rule the roost, with his young daughter in tow.

Arlen, meanwhile isn’t fairing too well and with missing limbs, is in a precarious position. She’s not the kind of girl to sit around for long though so she fights her way out of Cannibal Camp. Just before she gets pecked to death by ravenous crows, she’s found by Hermit (see if you can guess who plays him) and is dropped off at a placed called Comfort.

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Sofa so good.

Five months later and Arlen is still living at Comfort, a sort of Mad Max-style festival/commune where she’s been given a prosthetic leg. She’s not happy but she is in better shape than she was a few months back.

One day, while exploring, she bumps into one of the cannibals scavenging in a trash heap. Unfortunately for this cannibal, she’s one of the crew who took Arlen’s arm and leg, so it doesn’t end happily. With her is Miami Man’s kid and Arlen takes her back to Comfort.

At a rave later on, Comfort’s creator The Dream (a gorgeously seedy Keanu Reeves) makes a speech to the crowd and the Comfort community go wild. It’s like how I imagine Coachella is, it’s so damn photogenic. Arlen, in her blissed-out state (DRUGS), quickly loses sight of the kid and goes on a solo jaunt to the desert.

TheBadBatch_HP

We’ve all been here am I right?

Here she bumps into an unsmiling Miami Man, who’s been frantically searching for his kid since she disappeared. During Arlen’s acid trip they seem to share a moment but the harsh morning light brings her down with a bump. Miami Man kidnaps her and forces her back towards Comfort where Hermit has told her the kid is. He threatens to kill Arlen if she doesn’t do as she’s told.

(Even though Jason Momoa is easily the most beautiful looking man on this planet I’m still reeling from some of his rape comments, made in 2011 and which I’ve only just heard about (this thread is an interesting read). And although I’m sure he’s not a rape apologist, I’m not quite ready to declare him unproblematic. In some ways my disappointment in him feeds into my dislike of his character, who’s an evil woman-killing cannibal).

Anywho.  Miami Man’s quest to find his daughter, the only thing he loves, is not paved with good fortune. As he and Arlen become uneasy travelling companions – and maybe something more – shit hits the fan again. Arlen finds herself back at Comfort, which is anything but to her, though she’s now feeling guilty having learned how much the kid means to her father. So she starts off on her own quest to find her – and if luck will allow it, plans to deliver her back home.

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John Wick 3’s first teaser trailer made it look like something really special…

This is a two-hour film so none of what transpires throughout is the most speedy. Arlen spends some one-on-one time with The Dream who reveals more about Comfort as a business operation. He also knows of the whereabouts of the kid, who’s being taken care of by The Dream’s harem of beautiful ladies.

I guess the question on everybody’s lips is, will father and daughter be reunited? Will this story, described as a romantic black comedy horror-thriller have the happy ending Arlen is now hoping for?

Is everything as bleak as it seems in this land that humanity has forgotten?

My Thoughts

Don’t be in any doubt, this is a long film and it meanders at its own place. However, I genuinely loved it.

It’s beautiful looking with some stunning cinematography. The setting, although bleak, has a Fury Road (by way of the already mentioned Coachella) aesthetic that is hard to resist – and like Furiosa, Arlen has a burning desire to get out of her situation, by any means necessary.

Although this is a love story in part, it’s never gratuitous, most of the feeling is left unsaid. Arlen doesn’t need a man to take care of her but she wants one and that’s okay. We all have the right to love and be loved by another, even in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

At times this is gruesome, sometimes it’s slow but the atmosphere is thick. I just wanted Arlen to make it. There’s a scene about half way through that nearly broke my heart. Although Arlen is tough and keen on survival, she also has a vulnerability about her that makes her just like any other young woman.

As our central protagonist, Suki Waterhouse carries this film on her lovely shoulders and that is no mean feat. She’s obviously a total hottie but she can also act. Get it girl.

My Rating

4/5. Amirpour forever. Can’t wait to see what she does next.

We’ll also be talking about The Bad Batch on All Out of Bubblegum in the next few weeks, so keep an ear out for that.

The Lure (Film) Review

enjoy-43

The angels were truly looking down on us this week when we were both able to find copies of this insane mermaid musical. I’m going to wade straight in because I literally cannot wait but honestly, a film about mermaids singing in a burlesque club and eating people? It’s got to be everything, right?

*Spoilers ahead*

The Lure (2015)

Directed: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Stars: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Kinga Preis

IMDB Synopsis: 

In Warsaw, a pair of mermaid sisters are adopted into a cabaret. While one seeks love with humans the other hungers to dine on the human population of the city.

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My Review

We open with our ethereal mer-princesses running (swimming) into the most annoying sub-genre of man, certainly in the Brighton & Hove area: the beach guitar guy.

Lured to the shore by their beautiful song, you hope the cannibalism will begin right here but for some reason it does not. Instead the ‘music’ saves these ‘rock stars’ and they take the girls back to the small but perfectly formed burlesque club in which they perform. The girls get jobs as backing singers/strippers and you might wonder how but, as in Hans’ version, the gals have legs when they’re on land. No genitals or butt holes though, for the record.

Anyway, this new and exciting lifestyle change, which is all glamour shots and musical numbers in malls, starts to take a darker turn when Silva (Mazurek) starts to bond with the band’s guitarist, Mietek (Jakub Gierszal). Think poor man’s Polish Evan Peters.

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Me and my mates down Churchill Square on weekends, but prettier

Her sister, Golden (Olszanska) can see it all coming and she’s not exactly stoked about whatever that is, though she doesn’t stand in Silva’s way. She’s got her own shit going on anyway, namely targeting strange men in the club and carelessly feeding on their flaccid flesh. She also periodically hangs out with the strangely hot Tryton (Marcin Kowalczyk).

Tryton, it seems, has had his own violent brush with humanity, having lost one of his horns to fishermen. He’s also a rock star but like a shit hot cool one and he wants Golden to join him on stage. There are musical numbers peppered throughout the film that, when translated into English, make zero sense but that just adds to the charm – and I very much like it.

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Me So Horn… oh.

Back to Silva’s new romance, which gets off to a rocky start when her beau tells her “you’ll always be an animal to me”, which is frankly rude. Despite this, Silva manages to get his attention and they look set to become love’s (next) young dream.

Shame then that Tryton starts warning Golden about what could happen to Silva if Evan Peters breaks her heart (you’ll follow if you know the story of The Little Mermaid) – AND then The Fuzz starts poking around the remains of a strange man found on the shore…

Putting two and two together (that the killings are of a ‘human or reptilian nature’), the burlesque band panic and try to get rid of the girls but that proves more difficult than expected. Silva all the while remains *heart eyes emoji* about Evan and decides that the only way to win his heart is to make the ultimate sacrifice (which is NASTY). Evan, the little shit still isn’t happy though because he’s male and so spectacularly mediocre himself.

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Playboy had a new no fake tails policy, so the girls were cleaning up

In the last third we experience more heartache and the story very much follows that of TLM, which is fine as it’s one of the greatest stories ever told (the moral: don’t give everything you have to an ungrateful fuck of a man, even if he is a prince) but I wanted something extra, you know?

We find Silva healing from her questionable life choices (it’s like reallly nasty). Golden is worried and angry, the burlesque band are falling apart themselves – and Tryton keeps telling Silva that she can overturn ‘the curse’ if she stabs Evan to death, which must be of some comfort, surely?

But will she though? Will she stab the living shit out of the puny, good for nothing, anemic fuck boy that is Evan Peters? I think you might have an idea but here’s a clue: check it out for your own goddamn selves. It’s worth it, I promise.

the-lure-xlarge

Someone tell her there’re easier ways to clean your clothes now

My Thoughts

Wow. The Lure does indeed have everything going for it and it works. It is a mess however, and could’ve afforded to go way darker, like more killings, girls honestly. How I also would have loved a more macabre take on the end of TLM (though justice is served), something more Riot Grrrl-y and explosive, perhaps?

The performances are great. The sisters are both gorgeous sea urchins who I bought completely as semi-alien to this world, while I got a real kick out of Krysia (Preis), their sort of madam at the club. I actually spent the whole time thinking she was their aunt for some reason.

The men are all disgusting and I think that’s the point, they’re there to be showcased in the most hideous light imaginable because really isn’t The Little Mermaid just about how women are expected to conform to completely unrealistic beauty ideals, at risk of seriously harming only themselves just to get the attentions of a sub-par male who prefers them mute and will fuck off with the next pretty thing that sashays by anyway? It’s all about female sacrifice with very little given up by the prince and while we’re at it, there’s not nearly enough girl power in it either. I’m angry typing this and I was angry with Evan for being such a limp dick. And yeah, the men = all gross. Except Tryton, but really he’s no prince himself.

I’m not angry at great cinema made by women though, never that. RAWRRRRRR.

My Rating

4/5. Something stops it not being the best film of all time (I know, I was surprised too) but it’s still great. Fun and dark and bonkers.

What did my killer mermaid Jillian think of this one? I have a hunch she’d rather take it swimming than smash it against some rocks but you can find out here. 🦈🦑🐋

Ravenous (Film) Review

ravenous_santa_poster_exchange_by_radioactive107-d36aqaeI actually managed to get Mr Bass to watch this week’s pick with me, which is virtually unheard of. Usually I wake up early on a Sunday morning and watch by myself.

But we’d both heard good things about this movie and never got round to sitting down to watch it, so Saturday night was a go. All I knew about it was that two actors I like were in it and that it was a black comedy about cannibalism. Where do I sign up, right?

The Film:

Ravenous (1999)

Where to Watch:

US Netflix

The Premise:

Captain John Boyd’s promotion stations him at a fort where a rescued man tells a disturbing tale of cannibalism. (via IMDB)

The Trailer:

Viewable here.

The Uncondensed Version: 

Handsome Captain Boyd (Guy Pearce) comes back from the Mexican-American War something of a hero, though he’s obviously been through the mill and is sickened by what he has seen on his travels. Sadly for him, his Commanding Officer soon finds out that he’s not as hench as first thought, and had actually chickened out in battle. That he finally came through to save the day isn’t enough and, as a punishment dressed up as promotion, Boyd is sent away to a remote fort in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Personally it looks and sounds like bliss to me, but Boyd doesn’t have time to kick back and think about writing his first novel, as – just as he’s getting to know his seven new roomies – an injured and distressed stranger appears out of nowhere. The stranger (Robert Carlyle), is unconscious when they get to him but it’s nothing a vigorous rub down in front of the fire can’t cure. It’s all quite erotic.

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“Once upon a time…”

When he awakes, naked and wrapped in fur (yey!), the gents (and one lady, Martha) question him. He reveals a bloody thirsty tale of how he came to be on their doorstep.

In short, he and a wagon train of others come undone in the Sierra Nevada (a few days walk from the Fort). They take refuge against the elements in a cave where things turn very bad indeed as they run out of food. Once they’ve chowed down on all the cattle, horses and even Robert Carlyle’s dog, they start on the first member of the party to pop his clogs, beginning with his legs.

Eventually, one party member, a Colonel Ives, takes it too far and starts killing them off one by one, until there are just three left: himself, Robert Carlyle and a woman, the wife of one of the deceased. Robert Carlyle admits to being a pussy right about here and buggers off, leaving the woman. Basically, he’s in such a state because he’s walked day and night until he reached the Fort, where we are now.

The soldiers, including scaredy bum Boyd, see it as their responsibility to find the cave and check for survivors. Even I can see this is a shaky plan but no, they’re good men and so off they trundle. Before they do, however, their Indian guide, George tells them about the Wendigo legend; a myth about how a man consuming the flesh of his enemies takes on their strength but becomes a demon cursed by a hunger for human flesh. Oo-er.

Robert Carlyle insists on travelling with them to show them the cave. Everyone goes except David Arquette (here playing a scholar – jokes, he’s basically Dewey again in cattle hide), another soldier and Martha, George the guide’s elder sister. In fact, David Arquette and Martha have already gone to gather supplies before the men leave.

Off they trot. On the way one the soldiers falls and gets badly injured. In the night he wakes up to Robert Carlyle licking him (worse ways to wake up?). The others decide it would probably be best to restrain Robert Carlyle, who’s acting cray. As they near the cave, he gets more and more spooked.

“Did anyone else see The Descent?”

Boyd and another soldier go into the cave, while the others keep guard outside. They find a well-like hole and the soldier climbs into it. There he finds the usual cannibalistic paraphernalia; crunchy skulls, fibulas, the usual. He then stumbles across a row of rib cages hanging artistically in the background. Of course, he has the good sense to count them (there are supposed to be five as per Robert Carlyle’s story) but there are way more than five and – gasp! – some torn uniform, very much like the blue one the soldiers are wearing…

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Wrong movie, Admiral Ackbar

They run out of the cave where, meanwhile, Robert Carlyle has gone mental and dug out a knife. He kills Colonel Hart (who’s in charge)and George, then chases down the young, injured soldier. Boyd and his mate go after him, where the mate is killed. Boyd exhibits some predictably cowardly behaviour but manages to shoot Robert Carlyle and jump off a cliff, where he lands right next to his friend. Boyd’s broken his leg in a major way and lies there for two nights, deciding what to do. No hurry, Boyd, Robert Carlyle only knows where you live.

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“Do you like my hat, Guy Pearce?”

On his second night at the bottom of the cliff, Boyd gives in and eats his friends leg. The next morning he can actually walk okay and hotfoots it straight back to the ranch. When he arrives, he tells his story to the three remaining housemates and nobody really believes him. The Commanding Officer from before arrives and strongly suggests that Boyd change his story, and admits that he got confused. Boyd refuses.

His superiors decide to bring in a stand-in to replace Colonel Hart (who’s been chomped earlier, remember?) while they figure out what the fudge to do. His name? Colonel Ives… *JAZZ HANDS* – it’s Robert Carlyle again!

“Fancy seeing you here, old chum!”

Boyd is in the doghouse now, and Robert Carlyle’s Ives is the model solider, bearing none of the injuries Boyd claims to have inflicted upon him. Robert Carlyle goes to speak to Boyd and explains why he did what he did. He too had been told of the Wendigo myth and since he was on the verge of death with TB, he thought he’d try cannibalism on for size, what the hell, right? It’s obviously worked a charm as Robert Carlyle’s skin is absolutely flawless.

I don’t want to spoil the ending too much but there is a little twist as the rest of the gang end up as dinner. Some horses are killed. Boyd gets blamed for all of it and Martha is sent to get help. Robert Carlyle proposes that they join forces and live together in the fort, picking off travellers selectively as they pass and generally having a high old time. Guy Pearce ain’t 100% on board.

“All this could be ours”

“I DON’T WANNA!”

There’s a final showdown between Boyd and Robert Carlyle, handily set a tool shed. Will Boyd finally be a brave bunny or will he continue with wet wipe tendencies? Who will win the fight? And will Boyd do as Robert Carlyle advises, which is to, simply, “Eat or die”?

Why don’t you settle down with a nice steak dinner and see for yourselves?

The Critique:

This film was fantastic. It is very dark and gory, pleasingly.

Described as a black comedy, it is subtly funny in places with some decent one liners. Robert Carlyle absolutely relishes his part, or at least it feels that way, which really helps you to like his character. His proposal doesn’t even seem like too much of an ask really, he makes is seem like a logical  move. Guy Pearce isn’t that horrible to look at either, let’s face it.

Some of their scenes together took on a homoerotic tone (in my eyes), which I enjoyed thoroughly. Again, I won’t give away the ending but when the film does climax, our two leading lads share some true intimacy. I guess dining out on your colleagues will really bring a couple closer together.

The music is also really good; a perfect example of using the soundtrack to illustrate true understanding of the film’s tone. It’s not something I usually mention, or notice really, but in contrast to last weeks review, in which I thought the musical choices spoilt the movie, I thought it was worth including. The score is co-written by Damon Albarn, for which he received significant attention.

The Rating:

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4 Happy-go-lucky Doctor Lecters out of 5

Pop over to Jillian’s shortly to see what she thought.

All images via Google.