Green Room Review

Title: Green Room
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Starring: Patrick Stewart,
Anton Yelchin,
Imogen Poots,
Genre: Thriller
Runtime: 1 Hour 35 mins
Music: Composer
Studio: A24
Certificate: US: R
UK: 18
Release Date: US: Apr 29 2016
UK: May 13 2016
See If You Like: American History X,

No spoilers but surely it’s more of a Red Room…

What have we had recently – or further back even – with an appearance of our favourite between blue and yellow adjective colour in the title? Green Day. Green Hornet. Green Lantern. Sticking with the location motif, we still have Green Mile, Green Zone and Green Street. If you’ve been waiting for your Green locale bingo card to be filled in, then Green Room should get you somewhere near. Somewhere near actually is best to sum up this horror-thriller – it comes close to making an impression but it’s not in the same ballpark.

The Ain’t Rights are a struggling indie punk band on some sort of tour. Comprising of Pat (Anton Yelchin, the upcoming Star Trek: Beyond), Sam (Alia Shawkat, Arrested Development), Reece (Joe Cole, Secret In Their Eyes) and Tiger (Callum Turner, Victor Frankenstein), the group has to suck gas out of cars to keep their van going to a big gig, until an offer of a paid show drops into their lap. The catch? It’s for a bunch of Neo Nazi skinheads in their remote club in the woods. After the show goes off without too much of a hitch, Sam goes back into the green room to grab her forgotten phone only to find a murder has just occurred. From there, the band begins a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Nazis, as the club’s owner Darcy (Patrick Stewart, X-Men: Days Of Future Past) begins to clean up the mess and makes sure there are no witnesses.

Critical reception for Green Room has been overly positive. Whilst undoubtedly there is an edge to this film, it takes a fair while for it to be sharpened up; the general confusion of the band in the opening third about whether the cops are coming or not makes sense given their situation, it doesn’t clearly set out this film’s stall for those arriving blind for a good 20 minutes. When it does eventually get going, this film does offer plenty of thrills and spills but cripes it fumbles about unsheathing it’s blade.

GREEN ROOMWhat does work is the uncompromising amount of gore and violence. Keeping up the ‘you’re screwed’ tone running through the film, the brutality on display heightens Green Room to it’s peaks. Having to take drastic steps to attempt to get out alive, the members of The Ain’t Rights have to go beyond their limits to get themselves out of the club. Taking down and knocking out a giant goon isn’t quite enough anymore after what happens to Pat, so we better gut him right? That’s only the base level, it only escalates from there. Their resourcefulness is entertaining, especially when Pat is forced to square off in the lab with a guy with a shotgun.

On the other side of the coin, our Nazi friends encourage ruthless and savage violence themselves. The surprise shotgun face shot of an important second-half-of-the-film character goes for more realism than your usual stupid head explosions but the impact is not diminished. The use of caged up canine cousins of Cerberus is wonderful in some of the most vicious dog attacks committed to cinema.  You expect this level of brutality from Neo Nazis and if there is one thing Green Room gets right is presenting them in an accurate light. You can totally imagine the hardcore pulling something like this to cover their tracks.

Darcy should’ve been a lot more engaging however; on paper, this should be a slam dunk with Stewart being a Neo Nazi leader – sadly not. Whilst his commands and actions are certainly menacing, Stewart is not quite putting that same level into his performance. He is a certain level of cold undoubtedly, but at points he also he comes off as a cuddly granddad in his favourite tweed sweater. Stewart also totally bottles his delivery of the N word – there’s not enough venom in it for Darcy given that he is a Nazi leader.

Green-Room-Patrick-Stewart-01Plot-wise, the slow drip feeding to who was murdered and why is somewhat unwieldy. Whilst it’s fair that we don’t get an info dump and we feel exactly the same as the band in this situation seeing everything unravel in front of us, there’s no reason to care too much for the players involved. There’s a few head scratching moments; including when one youthful goon (charged on a kill mission with the head goon) is dismissed without questioning it. Faultless is the incredibly strong downbeat mood played throughout which is rare for a horror or thriller. We’re led to believe or hope that all of our hero protagonist will get out somehow, but here there’s a refreshing attitude of ‘we’re boned’ while the group realise that a few of them maybe able to get away. A bit more of a human element would not have gone amiss as the film is pretty much straightforward with no real originality (outside of the violence) to make this long in the memory.

There is a film here which begs to be liked more, but Green Room has problems that stop you getting too into it. Some people may fall for the ultra violent/realistic take on offer, but there isn’t too much outside of that with some rather disappointing issues to swallow. Seeing Patrick Stewart as a Neo Nazi leader should not be as limp as this! Whilst the imposing sense of  doom is great; the facing up to it and the band just being dropped into this dire situation with no warning; that’s not enough to make amends. Irritable with some immensely satisfying kills.

Terry Lewis@lewisonlife

Verdict Ratings 06