STARRING: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Patrick Stewart, Macon Blair, Mark Webber, Taylor Tunes, Brent Werzner, Kasey Brown, Kai Lennox, Eric Edelstein, Samuel Summer, David W. Thompson and Colton Ruscheinsky
After witnessing a murder, a punk rock band is forced into a vicious fight for survival against a group of maniacal skinheads.
Green Room focuses around a punk band named The Ain’t Rights travelling through the Pacific Northwest. They arrive in Seaside, Oregon, where a local radio host sets up a gig for them outside Portland. They arrive at the bar, which is a skinhead bar, set in the middle of the woods and play their set. As they’re leaving, one of them goes to the green room to collect their mobile phone and walks in on a murder. They’re held at gunpoint in the Green Room while the bar owner, Darcy Banker, decides that it’s too late to let them walk away and they should eliminate them, leading to a battle for suvival.
Green Room is Jeremy Saulnier’s followup to Blue Ruin which has us following a punk band arrive in a remote location in the woods to play at a skinhead bar. Unfortunately for them as they start to pack their stuff to leave, one of them walks into the green room to discover a dead body, placing all of them for a night of survival as they are stuck in the green room whilst a group of skinheads, led by bar owner Darcy Banker, attempt to kill them. Admittedly, I still haven’t gotten around to watching Blue Ruin yet but after watching Green Room I will definitely check it out much sooner now.
Green Room builds up the suspense tremendously well in the first half of the film as you wait for the violence to kickstart and escalate rapidly during the rest of the films runtime and it creates just enough time introducing the members of the band that we get to know the cliff notes of their personality and at least have some emotion towards them once they’re placed in this horrific scenario. Oddly enough due to these characters and the fact the film is shot mostly in one remote location, the film feels authentic and realistic which just adds to the horrific stakes that unfold once the violence hits. The film is pretty graphic, but is not graphic for the sake of it (well….I’d argue that a scene involving a box cutter may have been going a smudge too far) yet it will get under your skin. The performances are very good as well across the board, Anton Yelchin is again vulnerable yet warrior-esque as Pat, it’s a nice buildup of where his character evolves to in the end and after his tragic passing, it’s a shame that we’re never see a few more decades of films starring Yelchin. Imogen Poots has a similar arc going through the film as Amber and Patrick Stewart, though more limited in screentime than I thought, his role as Darcy Banker lingers throughout the course of the film once he’s introduced and is a commanding figure that the group must overcome.
The violence throughout the course of the film, though limited, may be off putting for some as we’re talking pitbulls on human flesh, shotgun blasts to the face…it’s graphic stuff but again, not for the sake of it (think Eli Roth…but lighter). As much as I enjoyed the film, the ending in particular feels like it resolves the whole event tighter than I expected but it’s a minor detail compared to the overall film.
Green Room is a great horror film (moreso than it being a thriller) of punk rockers vs skinheads, using the one location of the bar to great effect, with authentic performances from the cast, especially Yelchin, Poots and Stewart. The film wraps up neater than I expected and the violence may be too graphic for some, it’s definitely a small budget film with an 80’s style structure that deserves to be viewed. Been impressed over the last few years by what A24 is releasing. 8/10