Movies like Green Room don’t really exist anymore.
It’s a rare, savage movie that could be confused for horror but is the genre’s more complicated, lost sibling: the thriller. The film ticks away, literally boxing you and characters in, as a clear deadline looms. It’s thrilling because it is completely based in reality, in a situation that could happen, in a world that exists but isn’t really thought about. The film feels particularly now given the state of race and masculinity in America, thanks to people like hashtag Trump.
Some background: the film follows a fairly desperate punk band the consists of the late Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, and two other guys. They’re hungry for gigs and money and, as they roam the Pacific Northwest, anything will do: they just need the money. That desperation leads them to a very off-path venue of men with shaved heads and ruff women. After a decent set, they move to leave, stumbling into a bit of a localized mess. The result? An artistic, contemporary riff on Deliverance.
There’s nothing really to give away but I won’t expound too much on what happens as it’s the type of movie you watch the trailer for and then dive into it. It’s very well acted with Yelchin, Shawkat, and Imogen Poots as convincing, real world victims and Patrick Stewart as a biting, grounded villain. The cast keeps you fixed on what will happen next, which you won’t really be able to predict as you wade through a sense of dread and excitement, an attitude fueled by that rock sensibility the film is founded on. It also helps that it’s kindly gory, a la it is extremely realistic and peppered in enough to make you squirm and not. Consider the gore more environmental, to really put you in the green room as a character.
Green Room is exactly the type of film that shows that less is more, that a simple, great concept and great story can make for a terrific hour plus of movie. You don’t want a sequel to Green Room but instead can—and will—enjoy the quick romp that you’re given. Similar to The Invitation, the movie is the type of thing that you’ll tell friends about because it’s such a bizarre, fun ride through a world you know about (Punk rock.) and a world you don’t know about (“Redneck” punk rock.).
You can find Green Room now on iTunes.