Written by Nelson Cumming
In his second directorial effort, Jeremy Saulnier has created something as old as the hills but something unique. Green Room is a thriller/horror movie that is incredibly graphic and brutal which is a rare compliment because it’s supported by great storytelling, tension, and acting. Green Room just left me in intrigue and suspense nearly the whole way.
Green Room is set in the sketchiest places imaginable. A heavy metal band, who struggle to make money perform at a neo-nazi venue. At the end of their set, the band witnessed a grizzly murder in a small confined room. When the event organizers realize what they have seen they attempt to kill the band members. The band members barricade themselves in the room and that is the set up for the cat-and-mouse game that ensues.
The most surprising and enjoyable aspect to “Green Room” is the performance of Patrik Stewart who plays the leader of the neo-nazi group. Everything he says is either witty, chilling or immersing. Yes that comes with a good script but the way he says all of his lines is flat, cold yet calm. He delivers with a great amount of controlled evil that I greatly respect it, especially since his role is a substantial departure from all his previous work.
The other things that worked are the jump scares and the gruesome scenes I previously mentioned. They made me wince and cringe. In the case of Green Room, making me wince and cringe were good things. It made me more invested in the story. There was just the right amount of gruesome for a good horror movie and it didn’t go on exploitation as a lot of horror movies do.
The main flaw that Green Room has, like many other horror films, is the use of old cliches. Without going into too much detail, you know the moment the protagonists leave the safety vessel bad things will happen. You know if the leader of the protagonists says that the group should split up bad things will happen. I saw a couple of scenes (not most) toward the middle where I knew how the scene was going to end. Given that Green Room dies nearly everything else right, the complaint can be easily mitigated. But it does prevent Green Room from being one of the very best of the year.
Overall, Green Room is a great effort from everyone involved from the actors, the set designers, the scriptwriters, and director Jeremy Saulnier. This is easily one of the best horror/thriller films of the year with great intensity and action ****1/2