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Iíll start this off by saying Iím not a huge Eli Roth fan, I liked Cabin Fever (Did you know they are already remaking that one? With the same script? PM and cry about it with me later), Iím also not huge on Cannibals I think Silence of the Lambs filled my quota. However, a good friend of mine wanted to see this and I recently read that Stephen King was a fan so that was enough to get me with a ticket in hand.
The film follows a group of student activists who head to the amazon to save the rainforest but a faulty plane lands them trapped and hunted by a tribe of cannibals. Eli Roth clearly casts with his dick, I know the star Lorenza Izzo is his wife and actually once the horror begins she really pulls through. However, pre-amazon blood bath, the first part of this movie is absolutely embarrassing. Technically and the acting, the first part of this movie is so bad itís confusing, the dialogue also could probably crash a version of final draft.
Things get better though, the amazon itself offers some pretty great scenic visual, the setting alone with cannibals thrown in is enough to be unsettling and generate enough tension despite whoís at helm here. Thereís some pretty intense scenes here and as expected with Roth, the gore is aplenty. Iím personally not too much of a gore hound, I think less is more with horror but then again no one goes to a cannibal movie for off screen kills. I was expecting this to be nasty and it is, yet it did also feel like it was holding back a bit, maybe Eli Roth did all he could without breaking the R rating but as nasty as it is, itís still kind of underwhelming.
Itís a hard film to really form an opinion on for me because I thought it was entertaining and I think thatís all this is meant to be, but I still have very mixed feelings. Thereís some dark humour laced throughout that sometimes works but I personally think this concept could be handled a lot better by someone else. Thereís one particular scene with CGI ants that is so poorly done that Iím genuinely curious why it made it into the film. I think some people will love this, I donít really know how I feel about it to be honest so Iím curious to hear other peoples thoughts.
I had very mixed feelings about the movie. (Spoilers to follow)
I liked the general conceit of the film. Young people who live vicariously through their social media looking to attach themselves to a cause they know nothing about, then getting the ugly backhand from the very cause they elected to protect. It's a brilliant idea, and had Eli Roth sat down with a better writer, this may have been a damn great horror film.
But as it is, it's just a decent timewaster. Roth doesn't seem to care too much about his audience, let alone people in general, so the whole thing feels misguided and uneven.
I liked the deliberately slow start. It's handled well and racks up the tension nicely. It's when the plane goes down and our "heroes" are captured by the tribe that the film actually takes a nosedive.
The very first kill by the tribe, for example, should set the tone and mood instantly. A likable guy getting dismembered? Absolutely horrifying. But the way its presented here borders on cartoony slapstick. Why is a man with gouged-out eyes, no tongue, and no limbs STILL MOVING? I understand the whole "suffering" thing Roth enjoys to employ in his movies so often, but there's a limit, and he crossed it. The minute this character was just a head on a stump and still twitching around, I was taken out of the picture.
The moments of the survivors locked in the cage could have been really great stuff, but Roth instead chooses to have them masturbate (even when they're fighting) and take an explosive shart in the corner of the cage while the tribal children blow raspberries. What in the actual fuck was he thinking?
Then when our heroes escape and have a chance to save themselves, they actually think it's a good idea to go to the funnel of smoke billowing out of the middle of the jungle? Really? You don't see the problem there?
This leads to entirely too many moments of characters blacking out/falling asleep and waking up to something new. It's just lazy writing.
The film does have a generally solid ending, but I wish it treated its characters with a little more respect to get there. Roth should have only gotten a story and producer credit and gave this one to a writer and filmmaker who actually knew what they were doing. It may have been a potential classic then. As it stands now, it's just okay, and that's disappointing to me.
Saw this today. As others, I have mixed feelings, but to say this could have been a "classic", is a long shot, IMO.
The setup is very weak and completely unrealistic. It's also long, slow, and downright dull. Characters weren't developed very well and for me, this was really the movie's downfall, because I really only cared about 1 character, but still knew very little about her real "character".
When we finally get to the action in the Amazon, things picked up for me quite a bit, but we're already in close to 45 minutes.
Cinematography was quite beautiful and I appreciated the fact that filming was done with a real tribe.
Brutality hits quickly and the plane crash was very well done with some wild gore gags, but once our Protags are taken prisoner, my mixed feelings came up again.
The tone was uneven and for me, this was a problem. Just too much of the tribe acting like this was all no big deal. Although there were some imposing and scary Antags, for the most part, they didn't act all that "evil", which was a little odd. Same for the Protags...although they acted scared and actually did a pretty good job, there were several scenes where their behavior just didn't work, which is the fault of the writers -Eli Roth and his buddy Guillermo Amoedo.
And, I blame these two writers for not being able to really ramp up the horror and tension as the movie progressed as well. Hard to really put my finger on it, but it just wasn't as exciting or terrifying as it should have been.
The finale falls into the same problem...it just didn't pack the punch it should have or could have. It wasn't much of a surprise to me how things played out, either, as there was too much obvious foreshadowing going on that made it pretty clear what was going to happen.
Which leads me to the wrap up final. Really? No...I don't buy it one bit. I won't ruin anything with spoilers here, but for me, it ended on a weak note...
...which leads me to the "real" final scene, which cuts in after about 30 seconds of credits rolling. Again, completely unbelievable, and IMO, a poor choice.
The violence is extreme at times, but in reality, not nearly the level I was expecting from Roth. Nicatero and Berger did a great job with the FX. The bloodletting was very realistic. For some odd reason, I expected and wanted more.
Glad I saw it in the theater, though. Wish the film delivered a stronger punch to my gut.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
I've never understood the Eli Roth hype. This guy hasn't made one good movie. Not one. Yet people act like he's some kind of horror genius. If you look up IMDB on his movies you'll see that not one of his movies has a 6 rating. They're all below 5.9. So the general audience agrees that this guy hasn't made ONE movie that is considered of average quality, yet he's treated like someone whose name should hold some weight in the genre. Eli Roth PRESENTS. What does he present? Subpar horror movies?
I saw Knock Knock a few weeks back, and while it was better than this garbage it was still very underwhelming.
Hostel basically established an entire new genre and Hostel 2 was a fantastic follow up.
It's quite amazing what happens when you make a movie for around $5 Million, and it grosses $81 Million WW. And to follow that up, the less than expected WWBO pull of $35 Million for Part 2, on a $10 Million budget, ain't bad either.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Hostel (2006) was the first film to be given the label 'torture porn' and helped popularize a sub-genre that was briefly popular...
But even in this sub-genre there are earlier and much better examples, e,g, Murder Set Pieces aka MSP (2004), Guinea Pig (1984) etc
I say better, but it depends on what scale or rating you use... personally I found MSP a lot more disturbing than Hostel, largely because it takes an effort to draw some characters you care about, not something I found with Hostel, or Hostel 2.
And both MSP and Guinea Pig out gore Hostel (if that's your thing), to the extent that Charlie Sheen reported Guinea Pig to the FBI because he thought it was a snuff film (he is an idiot though!)
However, I think Roth deserves props for some of the films and chances he's taken, Hostel and Cabin Fever as a Dir, The Last Exorcism and Sacrament as a Producer.
He's also a massive genre proponent, unashamedly a Horror fan, no pretending he makes dark thrillers or any such rubbish. Full respect for not selling out!
I watched Green Inferno over the weekend, I was right more or less an uncredited Cannibal Holocaust re-make, so I'd advise you watch Holocaust - it is significantly better, it one of the earliest found footage films, has some ineteresting views on journalism and society in general - oh and it much gorier than Inferno (and most films tbh).
Knock Knock had some decent ideas and I thought it started well, but it just got a bit repetitive and hard to swallow by the end.
I'll still be watching out for what Roth does next though.
Eli Roth didn't establish a new genre. However Hostel did popularize the phrase "torture porn", but that type of movie has been around forever. Just of the top of my head you have movies like - Men behind the Sun, Mark of the Devil, Black Sunday, Angst, Salo, the Guinea Pig movies and more. Heck you can even put something like Funny Games in the genre.
Hostel 1 did earn good money but Hostel 2 didn't. Both are rated under 6 on IMDB. While IMDB isn't the be-all and end-all, it still proves that these movie in the court of public opinion didn't fare very well. They were treated as average horror movies. Classic horror movies like The Thing, The Exorcist have ratings above 8. Which shows that both horror fans and the general audiance have an appreciation for their quailty.
Cabin Fever was made on a budget of 1.5 mil and looked horrible. On the other hand the original SAW movie was made for less money, had a budget of around 1 mil and looked and felt way more professional. It was a far better done movie. In every sense. Which shows that if you have talent it will shine through even on a lower budget. You'll know how to make the movie not look and feel cheap.
So at the end of the day, Eli Roth has made one movie that made money but wasn't very critically acclaimed and a bunch of other movies that have not made money and didn't recieve any acclaim.
I have nothing against the guy, but I just can't understand why his name gets thrown around so much when he doesn't seem to be able to make a good movie. Yet, now the movies that he produces have ELI ROTH PRESENTS on the cover/poster, like that should be reassurence that it'll be something good. When, if you look at the IMDB ratings on these movies you'll see that they aren't very flattering. The Last Exorcism has a 5.6, the second part has a 4. The Stranger has a 4.9, The Sacrament a 6.1 (written and directed by the more talented Ti West) and The Man with the Iron Fist has a 5.4.
Even the movies he has produced, the public thinks are mediocre at best.
So, again. Why is this guy made out to be some kind of big deal?
There are far more talented people working in the genre.
Hostel 1 has a 5.9 rating. That doesn't really enter average/good movie teritory according to IMDB standards. I take IMDB as a gauge of public opinion over RT since THOUSANDS of people vote on IMDB instead usually barely a hundred on RT. To me an opinion is an opinion. I'd take the average opinon of a 130.000 people on IMDB over the 104 on RT.
Hostel 2 made 35 mil WW on a 10 mil production budget. It made 17 mil domestically, if you factor in the marketing budget, this movie lost money on its domestic theatrical run. It was not a success. Which is likely why the series ended.
The Green Inferno didn't do well in its theatrical run, and from what I remember Knock Knock went on VOD. Eli Roth's movies don't draw praise from audiences and don't really do well to draw people to go see them. I don't see how this man is an important figure in the genre when he's a director that doesn't make movies that are generally considered as good or movies that are financially successful.
Finally caught this after two-plus years of waiting. By the end, my expectations were low. Verdict... meh.
I was pleasantly surprised by the first act. It wasn't fantastic, but the humor and writing overall weren't nearly as bad as I expected. The jokes/gags were actually so unfunny that I barely noticed them, which is a load off considering how forced and stupid Roth's bro shenanigans can be. Watched this drinking bourbon by myself on a rainy day; for a minute, I thought this might be the perfect Netflix/background-noise watch. That's not the best endorsement, obviously, but I sincerely think those flicks have their place.
By the end, though, I found myself pretty disappointed. Never scary or suspenseful; conflict is resolved as quickly as it's introduced, and there're really only two major gore scenes to speak of, which aren't anything worth mentioning for seasoned horror fans. For teen genre dabblers, they're certainly extreme, and that's fine, but I think Roth wants the diehards in on the fun, and this just doesn't cut it. Not even shot in a coherent manner, honestly.
Plotwise, there's definitely the feeling of the film just going through the motions, especially towards the end, which goes out with a whimper. There's a moment in the credits where they try to throw one final curveball, but it feels silly and desperate in the most pathetic Hollywood sorta way. Roth's not even directing the sequel, so it just feels like complete bullshit.
All in all, middle of the road in the worst way. Would honestly have preferred to be mad in the end... especially while drinking bourbon. Some good bits here and there, but ultimately, I'd pass. See Krampus, Backcountry... fuck, even Let Us Prey. Horror's on its way back, and Roth is strangely not meeting the challenge.