After witnessing a murder, a hard rock band are forced to fight for survival against a group of maniacal skinhead, white supremacists at a remote warehouse. Written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, most recently having worked on cult success Blue Ruin, he follows in the pattern of crime and violence, this time working with: Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Imogen Poots, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Mark Webber and Patrick Stewart.
This cast feels like a mix of actors who for the most part choose smaller, indie projects which may not thrust them into the limelight but they still definitely deserve plenty of recognition, with the exception of Patrick Stewart of course, who is known worldwide. Starting with our lead, who’s had a fairly interesting and all over the map career spanning from films like: Star Trek, Terminator Salvation, Fright Night to those like Burying the Ex, Only Lovers Left Alive, Dying of the Light and (you can check on this one but I promise it’s true) the voice of Clumsy Smurf, he’s a background hero that pops up in blockbusters every once in a while. Yelchin as Pat is fantastic, the sheer amount of emotion and terror this character goes through in one film is phenomenal but he acts the part and gives everything for it, he makes for a perfect lead for Green Room. Then there’s Stewart, whose presence will no doubt bring more of an audience with his name on the poster and he doesn’t disappoint but his fairly small part in the film is slightly disappointing, the draw of seeing him as a skinhead and in that environment is not really satisfied due to very limited screen time, and half of that time only getting his voice or shoes. For anyone whose a fan of Arrested Development, they’ll understand why Alia Shawkat is fantastic, and we get to see a little of that in this film, she’s not quite at the forefront and could be considered more of a sidekick but again it is a great casting choice. Imogen Poots on the other hand, does not have a great track record for choosing winners but she did well with this one, her switching from emotional to dead eyed throughout the film is great to watch and she may be easily underestimated but that plays to her favour in this one.
The closest and most recent comparison of general cinema you could make for this one would be 10 Cloverfield Lane because it follows the same brilliant pattern of storytelling that has you hooked on the edge of your seat, peeking from behind your hands covering your face because it creates such a terrifying but enjoyable atmosphere. Though you undoubtedly will see this film advertised for it’s horror and gore, it’s used in a much more refined and sporadic way which is perfect, it’s not constant and unrelenting, it’s within the moments where it’s required and those moments are almost stomach churning but brief enough to just put a dose of scare into the audience without making it uncomfortable. The gore is not what really makes this film scary, it’s how well the director puts the fear of the characters into the audience. The film is only 95 minutes but it feels dead on the right amount, it builds up slowly then punches you in the gut before things go crazy and you’re hooked, there’s no lagging moment.
There is not enough buzz going around this film, the amount you will find is all great because it’s a brilliant film but it certainly deserves much more recognition than it’s getting. Jeremy Saulnier has created something that is entertaining, scary, clever and fun and has certainly not disappointed following up Blue Ruin, and it will definitely be interesting to see what he comes out with next. This one gets a strong recommendation, catch it in cinemas before it’s gone!