“The Green Inferno” movie review: Eli Roth’s horror film, about environmental activists encountering cannibals in the Amazon rain forest, is a flop that overestimates gore for actual scares. Rating: 1 star out of 4.

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What’s the point of watching horror movies? An often argued reason is catharsis. Horror movies have a unique way of dredging up cultural anxieties and playing them to their worst ends on screen, so when the lights come up, we can say, “it’s only a movie,” and dismiss those fears away.

Eli Roth has managed to do this in artful, cheeky ways with his films “Cabin Fever” (flesh-eating viruses!) and “Hostel” and “Hostel Part Two” (commercialized torture!). In his latest effort, “The Green Inferno,” he works out that oh-so-scary fear of … hashtag activism? Coupled with a throwback, retro-cannibalism storyline that is groan-worthy, Roth’s “The Green Inferno” is a flop of a horror film that over­estimates gore for actual scares.

The first half of “The Green Inferno” is a dull, half-baked eco drama. Columbia University freshman Justine (Lorenza Izzo) links up with a group of activists headed to the Amazon rain forest to live stream and shame developers who are threatening the land of an ancient tribe.

Movie Review ★  

‘The Green Inferno,’ with Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy. Directed by Eli Roth, from a screenplay by Roth, Guillermo Amoedo and Nicolás López. 100 minutes. Rated R for aberrant violence and torture, grisly disturbing images, brief graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use. Several theaters.

When the students’ plane crashes in the jungle, it’s time for the horror to begin. The indigenous Amazonian tribe, mistaking them for developers, hauls them back to their village for a barbecue, in which they are the main course. What follows isn’t so much as scary as it is just unwatchable. The proceedings are a grim drudgery without an ounce of suspense.