Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots & Patrick Stewart
Synopsis: Down on their luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights agree to a last minute gig in a backwoods Oregon roadhouse. The gig soon takes a sinister turn as the band members stumble upon a grisly murder scene and find themselves targeted by a ruthless club owner and his associates; determined to eliminate all witnesses.
Rating: 18 Duration: 95 minutes Release date: 19 September (UK)
Director Jeremy Saulnier’s third full length effort; Green Room, is a claustrophobic horror focusing on a local punk band The Ain’t Rights who, while on tour, fall foul of a group of skinhead Nazis led by the impressively monstrous Patrick Stewart.
Green Room starts off fairly innocuously with The Ain’t Rights awaking in a field they have seemingly drove into after realising their van has ran out of fuel. Without the money between them to buy more gas they resort to stealing it. Once on the road, their journey takes them to a local radio DJ who interviews the band and then offers them a gig at a local club outside of town. Once they arrive, the band are immediately put on edge when they realise the club is home to some very distinct clientèle.
What Green Room does well is be very uncomfortable to watch as well as be entirely gripping. It’s a horror film that meshes the likes of Assault on Precinct 13 with the visceral force of Paul Verhoven’s Robocop. It’s siege mentality grips like a vice and the level of violence hits a chord that so many other films fail to do. Whilst the level of violence is indeed high it manages to feel natural and intuitive to the flow of the film.
Central to the films impact is the likeable group of actors that Saulnier has assembled. The always intriguing Anton Yelchin gives the film a heart and his oddly charming vulnerability means the film always has someone to root for. Macon Blair makes for an excellent Lieutenant to Patrick Stewart’s mad-dog General. Blair stays loyal to his boss throughout, but manages to maintain a sense that he is somewhat insecure in carrying out the macabre duties imposed upon him.
Backed up by the likes Imogen Poots, Mark Webber, Callum Turner and Alia Shawkat Green Room keeps a youthful exuberance throughout and just like The Ain’t Rights it keeps going at an almighty pace and even when things get a little untidy, the sheer force of these young actors is enough to keep the film ticking over. While kudos must also be given for the casting of Patrick Stewart as the clubs owner Darcy.
It’s an unusual sight to see Patrick Stewart playing the villain, yet after watching Green Room it’s a wonder he doesn’t do it more often. His Darcy is threatening without being physical and carries the sinister presence of a man completely at ease running a club that caters to Neo-Nazis and clearing a crime scene of witnesses by any means necessary. Ironically Stewart gives some of his best lines when he isn’t even on screen. The immediate moments after The Ain’t Rights find a girl stabbed in the green room backstage are truly terrifying and Stewart’s threats border on courteous showing a man completely at ease with what is about to happen.
Green Room succeeds in being a fantastic horror film because it strips things down to basics and has a completely raw feel to it. This is helped in part by its punk rock soundtrack and having a director who wants to create a truly unnerving experience. The tension feels real and most of all we’re not scared for ourselves and what will have us cringing next, but we are scared of what awaits the characters here and that is the mark of a really good horror film.
- Into the Pit: The Making of Green Room (9mins 33)