Directed by Jeremy Saulnier
Starring Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Imogen Poots
After the outstanding Blue Ruin, director Jeremy Saulnier returns to gritty, but real, drama with mental horror flick Green Room. Powerful in its execution and unforgiving in its brutality, Green Room also serves as an antidote to overblown studio thrillers, opting more for flamboyant chills and stunning visuals over conventional scares and sex-crazed youths.
Surviving on the luck of roadshows and the fortunes of others, a punk rock band consisting of metal-head millennials venture into northern West Coast territory for an underground show they'll never forget. Hyped up by their own confidences, the band performs to a crowd of loud neo-Nazis in a musical sanctuary rich in brooding and opinions. While they do not share those same opinions, they suck it up for the sake of the job. Once complete, and in a hurry to leave, the band unwittingly witnesses the murder of a show-goer. Suddenly, a quick exit isn't in the cards.
Saulnier delivers the perfect visual cocktail of stylized endeavors and graphic inhibitions. Once our band mates realize they must opt to fight their way through a literal hell, we're met with enticing frights and realistically gory sights. Nothing quite prepares you for the image of a man getting his throat gnawed out by a ravaged dog. You've been warned.
What sets Green Room apart, however, from your traditional slasher flick is the carefulness and respect taken in relation to the story. There's a subtle metaphor that runs deep, without ever coming across as preachy. It was the same care in which Saulnier displayed with Blue Ruin. Realness and controversy deserve more than a girl running through the woods in a shirt that's barely there.
The cast, made up of young veterans like Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, and Imogen Poots, along with the great Patrick Stewart, are visceral and compelling. There are so many details in Green Room that are glossed over and never explained, but in a way that works, it's impressive how complete each character feels. These seem like people you could have sat next to in high school, still out there reaching for their rebellious dreams and never giving in to the system.
Stewart deserves his own mention, achieving great heights in a role that is small, but powerful. It's been a while since creepy has been so pleasant and commandeering.
Green Room serves as a visual treat for those who love clever filmmaking and a how-to for those interested in the next steps in unique and brilliant horror films.
This is definitely a quiet, brutal must-see film.
Runtime: 1h 35min