Eli Hayes’s review published on Letterboxd:
Hoop-Tober 2.0, Film 8 of 31:
The positives (small spoilers ahead)...
- gorgeous location/setting
- a poster for Christiane F. in the background of one scene
- very solid SFX
- the plane crash sequence was insanely well done
The negatives (large spoilers ahead, sorry)...
- Roth turned a subject matter/genre that is in no way, shape or form funny and turned it into a ridiculous, tasteless joke (what the flying fuck was that diarrhea scene all about? yeah, it was sort of funny... even I laughed, but this was not a film that had any reason to contain such content; the goofier the film got, the more I lost interest in an idea that had, up until about the halfway point, had some potential)
- the first half of the film was rather earnest, and even touched on topics like genital mutilation of women in foreign countries (an example of Roth's heavy-handed attempts to comment on cultural issues without any knowledge of where to take his dialogues); the second half of the film almost felt like an absurd spoof of the first half, removing any seriousness that could have been attributed to the inter-cultural aspects of the film and cheapened what could have been a fascinating commentary on savagery (e.g. Cannibal Holocaust) into the film that is, intentionally or unintentionally (and I'm sure it was unintentional because I know how big of a fan Roth is of the genre), an encapsulation of everything that shouldn't be done in the sub-genre of cannibal exploitation films
- what the hell is this film trying to say? Holocaust and Ferox at least posed the question of how true savagery should be defined, and whether the indigenous cannibal tribes are more savage than Western corporate greed, media misrepresentation, the implementation of scare tactics on society in order to make them fear what need not be feared, etc... or vice versa (is it the West that's more savage?); Roth's film didn't even try to attempt any meaningful commentary. Regardless of what the latter portion of the third act tries to convince you, the indigenous tribe here was portrayed as a ruthless, barbaric, neanderthal-esque group of creatures without the slightest bit of 'human regret' for their homicidal ways, regardless of whether they "knew better." In fact, if they were supposed to be portrayed as "not knowing any better" (THAN TO DISMEMBER A HUMAN BEING IN FRONT OF A GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT OBVIOUSLY CARE ABOUT HIM), then that makes the film even worse. Unlike in Holocaust, the white folks here are portrayed as being the ones we should root for, the ones who deserve to escape, who are caught in the middle of something that they shouldn't be caught in. The only extraordinarily unlikable non-indigenous character in the film is Peruvian, not white. Poor Americans, they just want to save the rainforest, right? -_____- *gag*
- the indigenous tribe may have "thought the protagonists were the enemies," as stated in the film, but there's never any supportive evidence to back up this claim; why did the tribe think that they were the enemies (the deforesters), because they were wearing the yellow suits? Pretty sure a group of (mostly) Americans, half of them being blonde women(!), look a little bit different than the locals who have been deforesting the tribe's land. This only made the tribe less easy to sympathize with (was I supposed to)!? Deodato certainly made me sympathize with the indigenous tribe in his exploitation classic, but here, I felt no reason to, and that's one of the film's primary failures.
- speaking of women, Roth has absolutely no idea how to write a female character. The writing and acting here: some of the worst of '15 so far. I don't have a clue how this script saw the light of day
- I never once thought to myself, "who are the true savages here?"; the over-the-top violence and lack of commentary on capitalism/media (aside from one measly line about their activism really just being a PR stunt) made it pretty clear that the indigenous tribe members were indeed the film's true savages (at least in my opinion), even if that's not what Roth was intending to communicate... and hell, that's not a very accurate echo of reality
- the cinematography was completely unfitting... the shakiness (which I'm usually quite fond of, if utilized properly) didn't heighten the chaos at all, as it seemingly intended to. Fortunately the surrounding environment was the saving grace (at least visually). the film was also not only mis-scored, the mis-score was overbearing and forced the visual and aural aesthetics into an unenjoyable, non-fascinating disparity
- what the flying fuck was the near-the-end-of-the-film dream sequence about? just another sporadically included joke to show just how not-serious this film was supposed to be? seems like a cop out. you know what would have been funny? if, during the ant scene, Roth would have directed his actor to scream the lines, "NOT THE ANTS! NOT THE ANTS! NOT THE AAAAAANTS!!!"
- in the end, this feels like the outcome of a naive third grader watching Cannibal Holocaust, coming out of the experience scarred but completely ignorant of the film's intended message, remaining scarred for a period of two years, at which point the now-fifth-grader decided to write his own loose remake; yes, this registered as being written by someone yet to enter junior high
rant over, and sorry
I know I'm usually not this negative
but this film really took it out of me
edit: I disagree with those (including Roth apparently) who claim that this film is a "satire" on SJWs, and if it is supposed to be, the satirical nature was very weak and mismanaged IMO.