In case you wandered out for a fresh box of Grins, Smiles, Giggles and Laughs at the outset of the seventies and got yourself lost in the process... for the next forty years, it's not classified information that director Umberto Lenzi is the primus inter pares of Italian cannibal movies, to which fellow director Ruggero Deodato also claims apostolic succession. Eli Roth, on the other hand, has shown unquestionable loyalty to the horror genre throughout his career in filmmaking, from directing Cabin Fever (2002) and Hostel (2005), to producing The Last Exorcism (2010) and Clown (2014), establishing himself as a prime purveyor of pernicious potency along the way, so in my best estimation, it was only a matter of time before he put his own spin on the infamous sub-genre that Lenzi and Deodato popularized years earlier. Procrastinator extraordinaire that I, no doubt, am, managed to get to a theater and see it at an eleven pm showing on one of its final area engagements. It went something like this...
"We are the CIT's so pity us, the kids are brats, the food is hideousssss..."
The collegiate idealist, Justine (Lorenza Izzo), despite some light ribbing from her drug-addled gal pal, Kaycee (Sky Ferreira), gets mixed up with the campus' most outspoken social justice warriors, escaping the systemic patriarchal oppression of the United States for the lush tropical clime of the Amazon River basin, as led by the aloof Alejandro (Ariel Levy), who's every bit as shady as he is charismatic. The naive student, along with many of her equally clueless peers, believes she'll be sabotaging corporate greed via satellite feed through cellphones, but that's obviously not gonna go according to plans, as anyone who's seen the trailer can attest. Before too long, she finds herself at the business end of an assault rifle, and subsequently, rounded up by red-faced Indio fans of Moe Howard (his haircut, at least, I'm not sure if any of the Stooges ate human flesh...maybe Larry Fine?) and slapped into a bamboo cage, where she's forced to bear witness to her chunky token black pal Jonah (Aaron Burns) being dismembered alive at the hands of the cannibal tribe, whose colorfully cruel and cataracted elder especially savours eating his eyes, freshly plucked from the sockets. Yeah, bleeeech.
"You're smearing blood on a vegan...hello? Problematic! Stop triggering me!"
After a vaginal horning from the elder, who doubles as the tribal gynecologist, apparently, proves Justine to be worthy of the white powder treatment, she's forced to juggle her homicidal thoughts of Alejandro, who'd used her as an expendable patsy while in cahoots with the very corporation he'd set out to shut down, and formulating a viable escape plan while her friends are systematically lifted from the bamboo prison, one by one, and slain and prepared for dinner before her very eyes. One chick is forced to discreetly evacuate her problematic bowels in the corner of the cage. Poo-poo humor, nice touch. When the prisoners are later fed what they believe to be pork in primitive bowls, one vegan lass is shocked to find her girlfriend's tattooed skin at the bottom of the bowl, after a fruitless escape attempt, no doubt. The horrified, brokenhearted blonde cannibal then slashes her own throat in a final protest. When the tribe mistakenly consumes the group's resident stoner, who's eaten a few ounces of weed beforehand, Justine and Daniel (Nicolas Martinez) are given a brief window of opportunity for dramatic jungle escape, while the zooted cannibals lie around, play their Black Sabbath records, and think about ordering a pizza. What transpires afterwards, you'll have to see for yourselves.
'White Priviledge' in the Amazon: We'll cook most of you before eating you.
How many "Meatballs" (1979) references will I make before it's all over? Just all of them... The goopy effects, provided by KNB, are anatomically effective and brutally brilliant, as usual. Naturally, Inferno will have drawn innumerable comparisons with cult scene fiends to Cannibal Ferox (1980) and Cannibal Holocaust (1979) before all is said and done, and though it clearly tips a knowing hat to those films throughout its run time (some might say the only aspect it hasn't culled from its Italian predecessors was the rampant animal cruelty that ran through the entire sub-genre during its period of popularity, and that's not a bad thing, unless your last name happens to be Dahmer), I think it also stands on it's own merit as a clever modern take with ample wince-worthy acts of violence for the gorehounds. I like what the "Bear Jew" is doing, and I'd hope he continues to produce such genre movies of quality, as I'll be sure to see all of them along the way. He's got my vote, thus far. On the scale, three Wops for a choice chunk of anthropophaginian entertainment that you oughta catch for your own benefit. See it!
"I'm not appropriating your culture, so don't appropriate my clitoris, you Indio-chauvenist pigs!"