The Green Inferno arrives in theaters two years after making the festival rounds and a full eight since Hostel: Part II doubled down on everything that made writer-director Eli Roth stand out in the first place, giving devotees and doubters alike ample time to brace for this foray into a remote jungle in which meat is very much on the menu. Though that won't make Roth's affinity for ghoulish dismemberment any easier for squeamish viewers to stomach, the fact that his sensibilities are better suited to comedy than they are to horror does help it go down more easily.
Funnier than it is scary and grosser than it is funny, The Green Inferno features a number of early scenes that would appear to be setting us up for a slacker comedy. Wide-eyed freshman Justine (Lorenza Izzo, to whom Roth was married last year) halfheartedly joins a campus activist group whose current mission is to descend upon Peru and save the rainforest. A characteristically cruel irony awaits: A plane crash strands them in the same wilderness they've just chained themselves to bulldozers to save. They're not alone, of course. Roth practically dares us to form any attachment to these people -- that way we don't particularly mind when Justine's friends start getting ripped apart by the natives.
Roth draws inspiration from Ruggero Deodato's infamous Cannibal Holocaust, amplifying that exploitation flick's least interesting components (gore, cruelty) at the expense of all others. The more brutal this becomes, the less anything other than blood and guts seems to matter. Just because watching every gory detail of a man getting torn limb from limb turns the stomach doesn't mean it quickens the pulse.