The characters are not very well developed, but there are three who are integral to the story. The main character, a young woman named Justine, has a rich father who warns her of the dangers of the jungle. When all of the students are captured, she tries her best to remain calm and influences a young child with a whistle she received from her mother. Another student, Daniel, attempts to help Justine escape but finds that it is much harder than her believes. The final student who is integral to the story is a young man (who may be the oldest of the bunch) named Alejandro. Alejandro is the jerk of the entire movie, and from the first moment he is seen he has a holier-than-thou attitude.
There are several gory scenes in this movie involving mutilating bodies (which Roth seems to really enjoy) and a lot of blood. Once their plane crashes the audience sees the actual destruction of the plane crash. Students are cut in half, and only about half of them survive the actual accident. When they are found by the native tribe they find that the tribe holds to the old ways of cannibalism and female genital mutilation. From here things go from bad to worse for the students. Fighting to survive, Justine and Daniel attempt to escape, only to be captured once again. I could say more, but then I might give away the ending.
The movie differentiates itself from CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST by not relying on the gore of a cannibalistic society. Even though to the residential American cannibalism is horrifying, to the tribes and other cultures it is the normal way of life. I was delighted to see that this movie did not vilify cannibalism, but explored it. Although I doubt the students would have agreed with me, it was interesting to see the behaviors depicted by the actors. I, personally, would not like to be stuck in a cannibalistic society, as I think it is probably terrifying, and I would most likely die of fright.
The gore in this movie was a little over the top, but it wasn't so bad that I thought it was gore for gores sake. There was a lot of blood, but I think this might be a signature of Roth as both CABIN FEVER and HOSTEL had even more gore, which was surprising as this was a movie about cannibals. As a horror movie I didn't think it was scary, or frightening. I feel if there had not been so much gore and violent death this could have been labeled as suspense movie. The audience it waiting to find out how survives, if the students will ever escape the cannibals, and if Justine will be shot in the head because of Alejandro.
The ending was not what I expected of this movie, and I can't say much without giving it away. I thought it was a wonderful and original ending to what could have been a stereotypical ending of a movie like this. There is a moment during the credits where it sets itself up for a sequel I don't think it needs, so I hope it isn't made. I will say, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would, and I absolutely enjoyed it more than CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, which I only watched because it has been touted as one of the goriest movies, and it apparently caused people to call the police and report a crime as they thought it had actually happened.
So, overall, I recommend this movie for what it is, a movie about self-righteous college students who go where they are not wanted and find that there are people who don't live by their standards.
And if anyone offers you a cooked piece of one of your friends, the answer, "but I'm vegan," will not suffice as a good answer.