From the writer-director of Murder Party & Blue Ruin, Green Room is a neatly envisioned, extremely effective & unabashedly violent horror thriller that’s absolutely remorseless with its content, brims with charged tension & makes excellent use of its foreboding ambience to finish as a bone-chilling, machete-sharp cinema that offers no respite from the slaughter that ensues once things go south, and will effortlessly manage to keep its viewers on the edge of their seats throughout its runtime.
Set in a remote club in the backwoods, the story of Green Room follows members of a punk rock band who have a gig in the area filled with neo-nazi skinheads. After infuriating the audience with their opening song but managing to win them afterwards, the band members inadvertently stumble on an incident they weren’t meant to witness and are ultimately forced to rely on their instincts in order to survive & alter their sealed fate once they figure out that the club owner wants to sweep everything under the rugs.
Written & directed by Jeremy Saulnier in what is only his third feature film, Green Room marks yet another win for the indie filmmaker and is one more quality addition to his short but impressive film career. Just like his previous work, Saulnier relies on the incredibly tense, thoroughly unyielding & steadily elevated atmosphere to deliver the chills and his confident direction plus expert handling of the available resources clearly indicate what a bold, daring & assured talent he is. The script could’ve used a bit more refinement but it nonetheless gets the job done.
The remote location where all the action unfolds quietly brings the element of claustrophobia into the picture while the inhospitable look of the club adds a layer of bleakness to it. Cinematography exhibits clever use of camera, green tint & low lighting to further enhance its grim aura while tight editing ensures that it remains a nail-biting ride for the entirety of 95 minutes by trimming out the fat & leaving behind nothing but a lean story. The background score has a muted presence in the final print, but it’s the effective use of silence that uplifts its tense mood to an unbearable level.
Coming to the performances, Green Room packs a committed cast in Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawcat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner & Patrick Stewart, with all of them chipping in with sincere inputs. The punk band members aren’t a very likeable troupe yet their predicament feels both real & relatable. Yelchin & Poots only get better in their given roles as the plot progresses, Stewart is in top form from the get-go, Macon Blair also has a supporting role, at which he does a very convincing job, and last but not the least, there is a pit bull in the movie that pretty much steals every scene it is in.
On an overall scale, Green Room is a skilfully directed, finely scripted, deftly photographed, tightly edited, methodically paced, ably performed & calmly scored cinema that doesn’t even try to do anything different with its genre(s) yet what turns it into a relentlessly thrilling experience is the way all its elements come together to work in near-perfect harmony. A delicious slice of violent, unapologetic filmmaking that’s armed with knives, guns, machetes, box cutters & some good old-fashioned dog mauling, Green Room is definitely one of the best films to surface on the silver screen this year. Highly recommended.