By Michael Kaye
Green Room (Review)
I apologize for getting this review out late, it's been pretty hard to keep with every single new release in 2016, and that's including both in theaters and on VOD. The good news is that this year I seem to be doing better at catching indie films compared to previous years. Two studios who have been kicking so much ass in terms of distributed are Amazon Studios and A24. The latter is responsible for distributing today's film Green Room, written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier and starring Anton Yelchin, Patrick Stewart and Imogen Poots.
Here's the story. A young punk rock band find themselves trapped in a secluded venue after stumbling upon a horrific act of violence.
Holy shit was this worth the wait. So many people have been hyping this up as one of, if not the best movie of the year, and boy does it deliver! Here are some of the highlights.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
First off, the cast is amazing, literally every performance is on point. It really sucks that Anton Yelchin is no longer among the living, especially because this was such a powerhouse performance as Pat that better get some attention come Awards Season. For someone who's most famous for playing the hero, Patrick Stewart is terrifying as the main antagonist Darcy Banker, the leader of the skinheads. Other notable performances include the rest of Pat's band the Ain't Rights, Alia Shawkat as Sam, Joe Cole as Reece, and Callum Turner as Tiger. Finally, we have Imogen Poots as Amber, a witness to the murder in the room.
This film was my first exposure to writer/director Jeremy Saulnier, and I gotta say, that's one hell of a first impression. Until about two years ago, I barely gave the horror genre the time of day, mostly because I wasn't exactly impressed by the mainstream offerings. Now that I've had significantly more exposure to indie films, I'm more than willing to give anything a chance. With this film, I was hooked within the first 5 minutes. Besides the great performances, what really works about this movie is the thick as butter tension that Saulnier builds once the band arrives at the venue and sustains throughout the entire runtime.
Those with a weak constitution should probably stay the hell away from this movie, as it can get pretty brutal with its violent action scenes. The one scene that really made me feel uneasy was when Pat gave up the gun to Darcy and nearly got his hand chopped off. Major props to whoever worked on the makeup, because that looked almost too real. Same thing goes for the death of Big Justin, where he's sliced open by a box cutter after getting put in a chokehold. How they pulled that one off was pretty damn impressive.
Finally, it's a movie about a punk rock band, so naturally the soundtrack is going to be awesome. Brook and Will Blair composed the score, which was effective in sustaining that suspense built in the first act all the way through the end of the film. But that's not what I want to focus on. As a die hard fan of everything under the rock genre, it felt like this soundtrack was tailor made for me. The Ain't Rights perform some covers, most notably Dead Kennedy's "Nazi Punks F*@k Off." Also included are artists such as Fear, Bad Brains, Obituary, Slayer and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
I'm not quite ready to call Green Room a masterpiece just yet, but I doubt I'm going to see a better horror thriller than this one for the rest of the year. Jeremy Saulnier is a director that I need to start paying more attention to, especially if he continues to make films of this caliber, and works with equally talented actors.
Now it's your turn. Have you seen Green Room, and if so what did you think? Also, what has been your favorite horror/thriller so far this year? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for my next review, which also happens to revolve around musicians in Sing Street.