Having witnessed a murder in an underground concert venue, a punk rock band are held up in a windowless green room. Forced to fight for their survival against a gang of dangerous skinheads led by Neo-Nazi, Darcy (Patrick Stewart), the group become increasingly desperate to escape as they descend in to hell.

The film opens to a Shining-esque overhead pan of the American countryside as a camper van makes its way up a winding road. Created by promising writer and director Jeremy Saulnier, Green Room follows a hopeful, young punk band as they tour cross-country. Having played a few underpaid gigs and running low on funds, they’re close to giving up until they’re offered one last gig at a notorious skinhead club. Despite their reservations, they play their set but witness a murder which causes them to be locked in by the owners and their red-laced henchmen. With all exits blocked and no way of communicating with the outside world, chaos ensues when the band realise they’re not likely to get out alive….

Green Room is very much that of a rare breed within the action-thriller genre. Whilst it’s presented as jump-scare horror in the trailer and could fall under the conventions of survival horror, it is has much more in common with a thriller. The characters themselves have much more depth than your average teen horror, and there are many levels to the narrative itself. The film is much more about the band’s descent in to hell. Finding an unlikely ally in young skinhead, Amber (Imogen Poots), the band begin to piece together the sheer level their captors are willing to go in order to coverup the mess as they clearly seem to have done so before. However, at times, it feels as though there were just too many layers. Whilst there is certainly depth to the character of Darcy (Stewart) and the Nazi group organisation he is running, there is also mention of some kind of drugs cartel which add nothing to the story itself. In a bid to include as much detail and darkness to the narrative as possible, some of it gets a little lost but the most crucial focuses of the narrative prevail.

Unlike examples of hoodlum horror such as Eden Lake (James Watkins, 2008) and Preservation (Christopher Denham, 2014), Saulnier does well to construct an evil that allows viewers to invest in. Whilst many of us share a mutual hate for murderous hooded brats, they can often be unrealistic and unrelatable. The use of the Neo-Nazi skinheads, however, is far more powerful and sadistic whilst also being culturally and contextually relevant. As such, as spectators, we naturally root for the the survival of random band whom we haven’t been given the chance to learn a great deal about. In a predictable yet entertaining way, the band members are taken out one by one although some of them brushed over almost completely. Again, the many levels mean that we are not all given the chance to feel much towards the actions that are playing out before another happens. Perhaps this was purposeful by the director to make their deaths all the more harrowing.

In terms of the horror and bloody aspects of Green Room, is it certainly not to everyone’s taste. There are many scenes of bloody, graphic violence which may cause even the toughest of stomachs to flinch. Patrick Stewart, though only appearing briefly, is chilling as Darcy, the skinhead leader. As spectators, we strangely want to see more of him yet he is ultimately and beautifully terrifying. Poots delivers a fairly good performance as Amber along-side a convincing leading role from Anton Yelchin of Star Trek (JJ Abrams, 2009) fame as Pat. The film also sees a semi-supporting role from Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat who shows her versatility as Sam, the band’s female guitarist and manager.

Overall, Green Room offers a unique spin on the action/thriller which borrows some wonderful examples of horror DNA. Stylised and with a good cast, as spectators we are left satisfied, even if the final scenes are perhaps a little brushed over. Easily one of the best and most original films I’ve seen in a long time.

Movie Review: Green Room
3.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Sophie Elizabeth

Sophie is a film blogger from South London with a degree in Film Theory and Major Production. Sophie currently works in digital marketing but in her spare time you'll find her writing reviews or at the cinema. Sophie loves all things Star Wars and Hollywood but having specialized in the Horror genre, monsters are her first love. She'll watch absolutely anything given the chance - you can find her also on her blog, http://www.popcornandglitter.co.uk Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophieathawes