Released in 2015, “Green Room” is a horror/thriller that was overlooked at first but has since gained high critical acclaim, some calling it a great movie. And it is.
“Green Room” was written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, who earlier in his career directed the well-received revenge thriller “Blue Ruin.”
Set in the backwoods of the Northwest, a desperate punk-rock band agrees to perform at a remote club despite it being a hangout for white supremacists. After their performance, they see a dead body lying on the floor in their green room. The members of the band are now witnesses to a murder and find themselves trapped in the room with a white-supremacist gang trying to break in and kill them.
The vast majority of this movie’s runtime takes place in the club and the green room itself, adding a level of claustrophobia to the suspense.
This movie is intense. When there are breaks between moments of suspense, they are not boring. They come as moments of relief, giving you a chance to breathe.
This movie does contain brutal violence and that should be expected. Yet there are brief moments where the violence is extreme. I consider myself to be a mature moviegoer who is used to brutal violence, but there were times in “Green Room” where I cringed. In a way, it’s necessary for the story because it makes the film even more intense.
The band members are not your typical movie protagonists. No one is a former soldier or an off-duty cop. They are just normal people. They have never been in a situation like this before and they behave like normal people would. They sometimes make rash and dumb decisions. It’s easy to make fun of dumb decisions made in horror movies. But in this movie, where the intensity is so high, you don’t blame them. After all, what decisions would we make if you were in their shoes?
The death scenes are not typical either. When a main character dies, especially a protagonist, they are usually given a cinematic death. It’s made to feel important and the character goes out with a sense of dignity. That doesn’t happen in “Green Room.” When a main character dies, it happens suddenly and without warning. This is a horror film, but a different kind of horror.
Patrick Stewart plays the main villain and he delivers a fantastic performance as Darcy, the club’s owner and leader of the white-supremacist gang. He chillingly talks about killing the band members in a calculated and cold-blooded way. He’s racist, but he is extremely intelligent, trying to consider every possible detail of his plan. Darcy is a great horror villain. It’s also nice to see Stewart in a great role that is not connected with “X-Men” or “Star Trek.”
The only flaw to this movie would be the dialogue. It’s not that it’s bad writing; in fact the dialogue is well written and the actors deliver it in a natural style. Too natural, actually. Like real people, the characters sometimes will mumble or whisper their lines, making it hard to hear. The best way to watch “Green Room” is to watch it with the subtitles on. Rewatching with the subtitles, I realized there was a lot of good dialogue I missed the first time. For example, I missed the closing line, which was hilarious and the perfect way to end the film.
“Green Room” does have a few moments of comedy – just a few. They are similar to the scares; they appear suddenly and are very effective.
If you don’t mind the violence or the intensity, give “Green Room” a watch. It’s amazing and is easily one of my favorite thrillers. Even with movies such as “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Spotlight,” or “Inside Out,” “Green Room” was one of the best movies released in 2015.