Note: This is a repost of my review from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to his 2013 film, “Blue Ruin,” is more contained and shows off a bit more of what he is capable of as a director. Intertwining his love of punk with the fantasy of having a group of kids stuck in a green room is the blanket summary of what “Green Room” is all about. There is a lot of violence, a lot of close-calls, and hell of a lot of evil and action. “Green Room” is high-octane survival film that will keep you riveted throughout.
A group of young adults in a punk rock band (Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner) find themselves at a gig in the middle of nowhere. On their way out, they are accidentally witness to a violent act. This, in turn, becomes a hostage situation as they’re locked in a green room, and with the help of insider Amber (Imogen Poots), they try and protect themselves against a group of white supremacists, led by a man named Darcy (Patrick Stewart), who want to kill them to wipe away any witnesses to their crime.
Saulnier is a master at using enclosed spaces to enhance the state of claustrophobia and danger to the film’s principal cast. Most of the action happens inside. There are no rushing sprints to the forest, no large area to run around, so the film is self-contained and capable of maintaining its suspense and action without waning. The setting never becomes tiresome either, as Saulnier always finds new ways and creative ideas in which to use the green room, first as a hiding place, and then as the setting for a standoff.
The principal cast raise the film to higher standards with their performances. Many of them have never been in a film such as this, but they superbly play their roles and the more heightened the situation is, the more intensely they perform. Patrick Stewart, of course, always adds an air of sophistication whenever he appears, and in this case his character oozes dangerous sophistication. He’s a man who is not easily perturbed and doesn’t even flinch at the situation he and group of psychos find themselves in–which makes the entire situation more dire for Yelchin, Shawkat, and co.
“Green Room” is a fun horror thriller, with a disturbing group of bad guys preying upon punk rock kids who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or are they at the wrong place at the right time? If the ending is anything to go by, it’s a toss-up between the two. The events are laid out in a logical and strategical way and go from fine to bad to worse so quickly that the rising suspense builds up pretty fast and never loses momentum. “Green Room” is bloody and not for the faint of heart, but definitely worth a watch.
"Green Room" is a fun horror thriller, with a disturbing group of bad guys preying upon punk rock kids who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's bloody and not for the faint of heart, but definitely worth the watch.