Horror director Eli Roth’s latest movie, The Green Inferno, may be a genre throwback to exploitation fare like Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, and really any movie with the word cannibal in the title, but he has another agenda as well. He wants to point out the hypocrisy of people who express outrage about the state of the world on social media but who refuse to do anything beyond tweet.
Talking to Hero Complex at San Diego Comic-Con recently, Roth discussed what he calls Social Justice Warriors, and how people see something on Facebook or Twitter and, though their hearts may be in the right place, go overboard with their reaction to something they just found out about, spouting off about situations they don’t even necessarily understand. The inspiration for The Green Inferno sprang from this. He said:
[Y]ou see people get involved in a cause that they don’t really know a lot about and they go crazy about it. I wanted to make a movie about kids like that. I think there’s a lot great things, obviously, about activism people commit their lives to it. But I want to make a story about kids who don’t really know what they’re getting into.
Roth’s film takes an ironic twist because these kids in question actually manage to do some good. In this case, a bunch of city kids go to the Amazon jungle in order to help save an endangered indigenous tribe, and are successful in their endeavor. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when, flying home, their plane crashes in the middle of the jungle and they encounter the very people they saved, who, as you may have inferred, turn out to be cannibals.
It’s funny that Roth decries people not doing anything real, but his movie is about people who actually do something and are eaten for their troubles. From what he says, he mostly questions the motivations of people on the internet who just retweet every post about every new cause. He wonders if they’re sincere or just want to come across as good, caring people in a public forum, and The Green Inferno is, at least in part, his reaction to this phenomenon.
When The Green Inferno finally hits theaters on September 25, it will have taken a circuitous route. It debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013 and hit a few more fests on the way to what was supposed to be a September, 2014 release, but it was shelved shortly before the unveiling. But now Blumhouse Tilt, a new multi-platform arm of low-budget horror factory Blumhouse Productions, is finally set to unleash the film on the unsuspecting, or at least partially suspecting, public.