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Green Room – Movie Review

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Green Room – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy D Films

The horror film genre is one with a lot of flexibility, even if it’s generally regarded as a domain for the undead and fantastical monsters. Green Room takes some of the tropes of the horror film, particularly the slasher sub-genre, and flips them. We have victims willing to fight back and antagonists that are more real than the mask-wearing baddies commonly associated with the genre. Director/writer Jeremy Saulnier gives the film a claustrophobic atmosphere and a creepy undercurrent as we root for the protagonists to get to safety. The result is everybody’s worst nightmare come to life and a commentary on the growing menace in society.

A good chunk of the film is set in the titular green room and starting with a gruesome death, Saulnier mounts the tension from there. From the beginning, the band stuck in the middle of the mayhem feels like a legitimately close family unit. Like the best horror films, there is a rooting interest for them to come out of the situation alive. Green Room quickly establishes that there will be deaths and of the horrific kind. This is a film probably not for the faint of heart as he unflinchingly displays every wound and gash. The gore is nauseating and almost difficult to watch, which is a credit to Saulnier’s directorial abilities in our desensitized age.

The neo-Nazis that conspire to stop these young musicians are bulking and scary figures. It’s not difficult to make them terrifying, but what Saulnier also shows is their unstoppable rage and lack of remorse in killing anybody in their path. Patrick Stewart manages to play against type as their leader, one trying to hide some of his real motivations from the main characters as he plots how to effectively kill them. Through the course of the film, there’s also a genuine connection built between Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots. Here are two individuals who never met before putting their resources together to beat a common enemy.

Saulnier also appears to commenting on the hidden dark areas of society, where hate still survives and grows. With this premise of young people thrust into that world, that heightens the terror on-screen. The third act does not hold back on the death and destruction sure to happen in this situation. However, the violence and gunplay is never glorified and meant to excite. Saulnier seeks to scare and shock the audience. That this scenario is a real possibility with all of the hate groups popping up just adds to what amounts to a frightening ninety minutes. The final act, in particular, has some truly startling action.

If one has the stomach for it, Green Room represents some of the scariest cinema in recent memory. This comes not from the usual cheap tricks of the horror genre. There are no jump scares or ridiculous monsters here. It instead creeps into our fear of human hatred and the types of people most sane folks would not want to associate with. Green Room establishes Jeremy Saulnier as one of today’s most promising young directors and with this effort, deserves comparisons to the likes of John Carpenter. He manages to use his small budget to solid effect and creates nightmares sure to keep many awake for the next couple of days.

Stefan Ellison

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