Review: ‘Green Room’ is not for the faint-hearted

In Green Room there isn’t only a solid cast to carry out a fairly simple story, but also a great sense of suspense that keeps the audience at the edge of their seats. Couple that with some graphic violence to spice things up and Jeremy Saulnier achieves another set of thumbs up from me. After the great Blue Ruin, the third feature film as a director by Saulnier continues to reaffirm this filmmaker’s work as something to keep your eyes out for.

Green Room

In essence, Green Room tells the story of a punk rock band with four members who find themselves trapped in an isolated venue. That’s pretty much it. You’ll have to watch the film for details, because you want to know very little beforehand besides the fact that you should see it.

But any recommendation for Green Room should come with a warning: it’s tagged as a horror film, and it isn’t subtle. In fact, sitting in the audience of the Sitges Fantastic Film Festival I was witness to the claps and cheering in some of the most graphic scenes, so even considering that it was an 8:30 AM pass, the horror/gore fanatics were loving it. If you can’t tolerate that, then this is not a movie for you.

Green Room

As always, Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog, Star Trek reboot, Like Crazy) stands out with a leading role in the thriller, along with Imogen Poots (Need for Speed, Filth, 28 Weeks Later), who plays one of the most interesting characters and earns the audience’s attention from the moment she appears on screen.

Other familiar faces include the charming Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development, Whip It, The Final Girls), Mark Webber (Happy Christmas, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Shrink), and of course the cause for attraction for the movie, Sir Patrick Stewart (X-Men). He plays the owner of the skinhead/neo-Nazi venue where all the second act of the film happens, and he’s not the peaceful man we’re used to seeing. If he had been given more to work with, some more depth of character, this would have been an even better feature.

Green Room

In the end, Saulnier manages to tie in the whole film nicely, almost like he’s connecting dots, but trying to throw off viewers a couple of times, making us think something predictable is going to happen. He also uses a recurring conversation throughout the story which in a way, it’s an easy, almost corny aspect, but it ends up effectively being the cherry on top. Moreover, the music in itself is an element in Green Room, another piece in the dark comedy and thriller puzzle, not exactly to accompany scenes or set atmosphere.

Nowadays, when most of the time we have to invest 2+ hours in a movie, I’m always thankful for those who can keep it in the 90 minute mark without making us feel like something is missing. Green Room stays entertaining the whole time, even though it also remains pretty much on the surface of what could be a deeper story, but it’s enough to succeed.

Green Room has already collected two audience awards at four of the festivals it’s been presented in, including the Austin Fantastic Fest.

Green Room

Directed and written by Jeremy Saulnier.
Starring: Anton Yelchin as Pat; Imogen Poots as Amber; Alia Shawkat as Sam; Patrick Stewart as Darcy; Mark Webber as Daniel; Joe Cole as Reece; Eric Edelstein as Big Justin; Macon Blair as Gabe; Callum Turner as Tiger.
Music by: Brooke Blair and Will Blair.
Director of Photography: Sean Porter.

US Wide Release: April 15, 2016.

Elisabeth S. Contreras
Elisabeth S. Contreras
Film enthusiast and sharer of words. Don't underestimate a woman with an opinion.