Title: Green Room
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Patrick Stewart
Release Date: In limited cinemas now
Review by Dave Griffiths
When I hear people talking about a film as ‘horror flick of the year’ I always hold back from the hype. After all, it seems more and more often these days that title is reserved for whatever commercial horror is going to make the most at the box office that year. Sorry, but I was calling The Green Inferno that last year, no matter what horror flick the Paranormal Activity mill churned out. So when I heard people start the ‘best film’ whisper about Green Room I was sceptical, but by hell where they right.
If you’re music fan (hell, you read Heavy of course you are) and a horror junkie then Green Room is your wet room because this film sees a young heavy punk band made up of drummer Reece (Joe Cole – Secret In Their Eyes), bassist Pat (Anton Yelchin – Fright Night), lead screamer Tiger (Callum Turner – Victor Frankenstein), and guitarist Sam (Alia Shawkat – Whip It) end up playing a gig at a dirty bar, frequented by rednecks and skin heads, owned by the psychotic Darcy (Patrick Stewart – X-Men). While the gig goes well, they accidentally walk in on a murder. They are then pawns in a deadly game, with Darcy and his men, including his lead enforcer, big Justin (Eric Edelsteain – Jurassic World) who believes the only way to silence the band and bystander Amber (Imogen Poots – 28 Weeks Later) is to kill them.
The first thing that hits you with Green Room is its brutality. Yes, director/screenwriter Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) is the real deal. He’s a true horror fan, not just director wanting to dabble in cult cinema, and it shows. His creativeness sees Darcy and co use the conventional knives, guns and machetes as their choice of weapon but the fact that they also use Pit Bulls (the dog not the rapper) as a lean, mean killing machine designed to rip off limbs and faces is a stroke of genius.
Saulnier doesn’t let too much happen in the film, most of the time the band is simply trying to find a way out of the club while Darcy and co work out ways to kill them in such ways they cover their tracks, but Saulnier’s gift is he uses the dark claustrophobic space of the club to set up real suspense and then have its audience jump out of their seat with true graphic heartfelt violence, that would impress Rob Zombie.
While it’s too early in the year to label Green Room ‘THE horror film of the year’ it will certainly feature among the best there is no doubt about this. In the screening I was in, the Pit Bull carnage had one audience member racing for the bathroom to relieve themselves of dinner… and yes this film is just harsh and nasty enough to be a horror fiends new talking point.