Green Room stars Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Fright Night), Imogen Poots (Need for Speed, 28 Weeks Later), Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men), Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development, Three Kings) and is written & directed by Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin, Murder Party)
A punk rock band touring the Northwest of America, are low on fuel and money so they take a gig at a skinhead bar. After witnessing a horrific crime, they get stuck in the green room of the bar with only a door separating them from a group of terrifying Neo-Nazis.
Blue Ruin is an awesome revenge film so I was really excited to see director Jeremy Saulnier’s next film. Although I didn’t like Green Room as much as Blue Ruin, this is still another great film from Saulnier. It’s tense, scary and has a lot of excellent performances.
One of my favorite film of this year is 10 Cloverfield Lane and although Green Room doesn’t have the same mystery that film had, it’s filled with the same amount of tension. It primarily takes places in one building so it’s very contained and you feel every bit claustrophobic as the characters do. Constantly throughout the entire film that tension is kept and it keeps you on the edge of your seat terrified for what could happen next. Directing wise Saulnier created a lot of the tension but I found the fear portrayed by the actors in the band came across so vividly, you could see the terror in all their faces (more on the acting later).
This is an extremely violent film. What I loved about the violence, is that it wasn’t a violent film just to be shocking. It was very shocking but the aggressive violence gave the film real stakes, that these people were in fatal danger. The violence wasn’t just to used to make audiences gasp and wince (although it will do that) it was used to make us seriously worried for the characters we care about and that’s why this film works…
Every member of the band serves a purpose and they’re all fleshed out characters that you want to root for. The opening 10 to 15 minutes before the actual plot kicks in, gives you time to spend with these people so that you’re invested when the horror takes place. The violence, the tension and all the scares wouldn’t work without likable characters and good acting.
Unfortunately as most of you probably know, Anton Yelchin tragically past away recently at the young age of 27. He was an incredible young actor and he gives one of his best performances in this film. It was hard watching this film and seeing him, knowing he’s no longer with us but it goes to show you how good he was, that after a while that did go away and I could enjoy how great he truly was. He played the lead character we focus on in the band and he’s the center piece that holds the film together. Anton Yelchin was a brilliant actor, with a huge future and from everything I’ve read and heard he was an amazing human being too.
Everyone else whos in the band gave really good performances, I especially liked seeing Alia Shawkat who played Maeby in Arrested Development. Imogen Poots plays someone who get’s trapped in the Green Room with the band and she was excellent in this role. For the most part she brought really funny dark humor to the film but there were time I thought it was out of place. Patrick Stewart is the leader of the skinhead Neo-Nazis and he steals the film as a quiet, calculated villain. He never goes over the top, with some big scene like Gary Oldman’s “Everyone!!” scene in Leon the Professional, making his methodical calm approach much more scary and realistic.
I mentioned the humor, which for a while was making the film enjoyable to watch. Films like Eden Lake and even 12 Years a Slave, are so brutal they become hard to watch and I ended up not liking them. This film had some surprisingly really funny scenes, a lot coming from a skinhead whose also in the room played by Eric Edelstein but however towards the end the humor started to take me out of the film because as the film got more and more brutal, the tone didn’t fit any jokes. One scene in particular involving paintball, I found to be uncharacteristic and unbelievable considering the circumstances. The good thing is, that it’s only brief moments and then you’re right back into the tension.
I enjoyed the third act but along with the wonky humor, there were a couple of moments when I started to get frustrated with character motivations and choices. There are a couple of dumb horror cliches that will drive you crazy but they do quickly move along and throw some dogs at you that will bring back bad memories of Ramsay Bolton.
Overall I thought Green Room was a really solid horror/thriller film. I had high expectations and was hoping it was going to be one of my top 5 films of the year but it was still very strong and at times had me feeling really sick with fear and anxiety. Great performances all round and a nice score too.
Have you seen Green Room and what did you think of it?