Shocking, exciting and tense, Green Room was one of the best experiences I’ve had in the cinema this year.
A horror-thriller mash-up, Green Room tells the story of ‘The Ain’t Rights’, a punk band, who after playing a gig in a remote club, find themselves at the mercy of a group of neo-Nazi skinheads, led by Darcy (Patrick Stewart), after they accidentally stumble across a murder.
The band, made up of Pat (Anton Yelchin), Sam (Alia Shawkat), Tiger (Callum Turner) and Reece (Joe Cole), are forced to fight for their lives while under siege in the titular green room, along with Imogen Poots’ Amber.
You know, just the usual punk band stuff.
Joking aside, Green Room is a wonderfully dark film, managing to tell a horrifying story in an extremely limited location – a bar and a forest – without ever becoming complacent or boring.
Instead, it uses its claustrophobic setting to ramp up the dread slowly, until the tension is so great that you’re desperate to turn away from the screen. Fortunately for the filmmaker, it’s such a compelling watch, you can’t look away.
The movie comes from director Jeremy Saulnier, and while I don’t think it quite reaches the heights of his last film Blue Ruin, there’s an awful lot to love in this tight and satisfying film.
The plot feels natural, with no characters doing anything too stupid, and it builds to a satisfying and bloody conclusion, managing to balance the action and dialogue superbly as the neo-Nazis and punk band try and end their battle.
I can guarantee that the bonkers third act will have audiences perched on the edge of their seats as the film draws to its dramatic close.
Carrying the film’s menace like the mighty titan he is, is Patrick Stewart, who steals every scene he’s in, despite giving a very low key performance as the leader of the skinheads.
From the moment he appears on screen, he’s calm, polite and yet utterly menacing, with the threat of violence always simmering just underneath his strangely headmasterly surface.
It should go without saying that Green Room is a brutal film, with a lot of over the top violence, but thankfully Saulnier manages to walk the very fine line between what’s horrifying and what’s ridiculous, without ever crossing over into excessive torture porn.
Unfortunately, the film’s not without its flaws, as some of the band and ensemble cast feel like literal meat shields for the more important main characters.
It’s a shame, because all the actors are likeable enough in their roles, but you just never really get to know them. So when they begin dropping like flies, it’s difficult to care all that much about their deaths.
Instead, you’re just caught up in the terrible way they met their fate.
Despite that, Green Room is a satisfying horror thriller, managing to put a new spin on an old formula that will have audiences gripped to the screen – it’s just a shame they don’t quite nail the human element.
Green Room breaks its way into cinemas on May 13.