Even though these two directors have made films I gladly added to my collection, I totally stepped out of my horror comfort zone to watch The Green Inferno and The Invitation. Here’s how it went.
THE GREEN INFERNO (2013)
I’ll admit, this kind of movie is not my thing, so I’ve dreaded what I might experience, much as I did with Eli Roth’s Hostel years ago. I must say, he nailed what he was going for here, because I was ready with the stop button at all times. Especially since the basic premise has a young college student heading to Africa with an activist group after she learns in class about the horrific clitorectomies the tribes perform on their girls. As soon as the subject came up, I was like, “Fuck. This movie is about a girl trying to save the clits (clit hugger?), which totally means there’s going to be clit mutilation.”
That fear alone made the first half of The Green Inferno, during which not much happens, excruciatingly intense—just like movies did when I was a kid and it was the not knowing what you were about to experience that made them so terrifying. These days, watch a 60-second trailer and you don’t even need to see the film. With this one, Roth drilled a hole through my guts (I wish) the way the thought of watching the insane gorefests of the 1970s did during the VHS days of the 80s. He was trying to make a modern Cannibal Holocaust, so I’d say he pretty much succeeded (Nope, never saw that one, never will).
Most of the main cast has had horror movie experience, and a good number of the actors have appeared in Eli Roth’s films Knock Knock and Aftershock. A notably small role goes to singer Sky Ferreira, but on the bright side—the really bright side—her kick ass modern new wave song “I Will” plays during the closing credits. I’ve played her stuff on my Future Flashbacks show.
Okay, so I’m procrastinating. I won’t talk much about what happens, but after the long introduction to Africa and buildup to the good stuff, which lasts more than 1/3 of the film, there’s a horrible plane crash that uses the highly effective modern approach of showing us people being sucked out of the plane. Roth adds his darkly comic touch and keeps the carnage coming even after the fucking plane is back on land.
Seconds after that joyfully exploitative scenario, the natives attack and shit gets real again. The nightmarish arrival at the village is everything I’d been avoiding. There are impaled corpses—and body parts—everywhere. With primitive glee, the natives swarm the captives as if they are not even human…or alive.
I’d keep him in a cage to eat later, too.
The captives are thrown in a cage…except for one, who gets the most heinous living mutilation in the entire movie. Honestly, kills are surprisingly less repulsive after this initial scene. But the humiliating things the others experience and do in the cage kept my stomach turning, as did that damn clit issue hanging over my head.
The fact is, if this weren’t a movie, this situation would be hopeless for every person in that cage. You would know it was just a matter of time before you were dismembered alive or eaten alive…or that your clit was sliced off.
YUM! Shish kebear!
Hey, I’ll admit that when it was all over, I was relieved and a little disappointed. Why? For starters, the movie seriously shows restraint in its presentation of gore and deaths, pretty much having blown its load the first time. And the thing I feared happening most never does! Not to mention, the conclusion includes not only a cheap dream scare that totally goes against the tone of the film, but in its attempt to send a sort of “live and let live” message, it left me thinking, “Fuck them cannibal mother fuckers! FRY THEM ALL! You were just trying to save their clits!”
THE INVITATION (2015)
I am a huge fan of the teen angst popcorn horror of Jennifer’s Body, which was directed by Karyn Kusama. Her film The Invitation isn’t that. It isn’t that at all. For me personally, this is a talky drama with a bit of intrigue and 20 minutes of “suspense” at the end.
Logan Marshall-Green, the hottie from Devil, comes with his new woman to the house he lived in with his ex-wife, who has a new man and is having a little dinner gathering. From the very beginning, Logan seems like a serial killer and the ex-wife seems like a psycho bitch from hell, so you know something really bad is going to happen. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen until an hour and twenty minutes into the film.
Everyone is acting weird. Logan lurks around the house having flashbacks of the tragedy that split he and his ex up. His ex seems to be off her rocker and her new man appears to be the one who pushed the rocker over. There’s a muscular gay couple—yet it’s a straight dude who refers to Logan as being very “butch” because of something he admits to doing. Speaking of, the group plays a game of truth or kiss someone, so naturally there’s a girl-on-girl kiss (the gay guys never kiss). There’s mention of a home invasion that took place nearby. Some weird guy at the party has everyone watch some sort of emotionally cleansing video about embracing death. There’s a montage of them eating dinner. There’s a birthday cake for one of the gay guys.
And there was me, counting the squares in the pattern of my living room rug. Finally, I sobbed, “Someone just completely snap and kill someone already!”
Voila. It happened. With twenty minutes left, the shit hit the fan. I guess you’re supposed to be shocked at how things unfold, be on the edge of your seat as the threat is revealed, and be blown away by the final frame. Where’s Jennifer’s Body 2 when you need it?