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‘Green Inferno’ gets the green light

After more than a year of waiting, horror movie fans will finally get to see perhaps the most disturbing, and controversial films of the year—The Green Inferno.

Ahead of its US release, Solar Pictures unleashes the Green Inferno in local cinemas nationwide beginning Sept. 23.

In Peru, a perilous scene from The Green Inferno

Directed by Eli Roth, the horror mastermind behind such groundbreaking films as Cabin Fever and the blockbuster Hostel franchise, Green Inferno is a terrifying, twisted and blood-soaked take on the a digital-age phenomenon known as “slacktivism.”

The Green Inferno tells the story of what happens when “slacktivism”—the well-meaning social-media response to global catastrophes—turns deadly deep in a South American rainforest. 

When a group of college students take their humanitarian protest to the Amazon jungle, they are taken prisoners by the indigenous tribe they came to save. Trapped in a remote tribal village, these naïve, technology- dependent students suffer unspeakable acts as the victims of chilling and soul- destroying rituals reserved for only the most threatening intruders.

Chilling scene from The Green Inferno in Chile

In early 2012 Eli Roth was working on a script about a group of college students who try to solve the world’s problems by using online videos to publicly embarrass anyone they see as doing wrong. Before he finished writing it, an organization called Invisible Children made the video “KONY 2012,” which urged viewers to help take down Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. 

Fueled by worldwide social-media frenzy, the video was viewed more than 100 million times. Soon, however, the campaign came under intense criticism for oversimplifying—and in some cases misrepresenting—a complex situation, and the organization’s founder, Jason Russell, suffered a very public breakdown.

Roth was amazed that these real-life events so closely mirrored the central premise of The Green Inferno. 

“Everyone in the world was tweeting about something they had learned from a YouTube video, and almost shaming other people into re-tweeting it, as if you were uncaring about Ugandan child soldiers if you didn’t,” he recalls. In the end, the “KONY 2012” campaign did almost nothing to solve the problems it highlighted. Yes, it raised awareness, but just re-tweeting links to YouTube videos isn’t actually going to stop warlords.”

For Roth, the controversy surrounding “KONY 2012” validated The Green Inferno’s core conceit—the idea that “slacktivism” is often just a way for social media users to feel like they are doing something about horrific events that are completely beyond their control. “It came from a good place, wanting to help others in a far corner of the world,” says Roth. “But ultimately it was more about people feeling better about themselves.”

Although the film offers a pointed commentary on this uniquely 21st-century trend, Roth’s primary goal is more visceral: to share with audiences his love for blood- curdling movie mayhem. “Horror movies were my passion growing up, and my favorite thing was being scared and watching scary, gory movies with my friends,” he says. “I love to terrify people. As things get worse in this world, and people feel a loss of control over things, they need an outlet, a place they are allowed to be really scared. Where better than in a horror movie?”

The Green Inferno opens in theaters nationwide, beginning Sept. 25, from Solar Pictures.

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