Alright, beasties. It’s that spooky time of year again. For this edition of Spooktober, I’m going to do a post a day but, like a great haul after trick or treating, I’m hoping to mix it up and deliver some surprises. There’ll be reviews, new or old, seen/unseen, TV or film. Depending on my wicked mood, there may also be lists, audio, or video. I hope you’ll enjoy it and remember: stay spooky.
Green Room was one of my favorites of 2015, and it further showed how amazing Anton Yelchin was (RIP) how Imogen Poots is an under-looked talent that is always stellar, and writer/director Jeremy Saulnier is someone who can craft an engaging, gritty piece of work.
Punk metal band The Ain’t Rights has just got their newest gig, but it isn’t the sort of crowd they want. Bassist Pat (Anton Yelchin) and guitarist Sam (Alia Shawkat), drummer Reece (Joe Cole) and vocalist Tiger (Callum Turner) are in for a challenging night. After a performance, they witness a murder in the green room, and from there they are thrust into the situation alongside Amber (Imogen Poots) the friend of the victim, trying to escape the clutches of white supremacists.
There’s something messy and grungy about Green Room that permeates the graffitied walls and beer-covered floor, beyond the toxicity in the air and the hatred that surrounds the bar full of individuals who will do nothing to keep this crime contained. None worse than Darcy (Patrick Stewart), the especially vicious leader.
That sort of dodgy aesthetic makes each moment feel innately raw, and ultimately, scary. It’s a night of terror and endurance as each member of the band is tested to their limits, with plenty of cringy violence and horrible deaths. There’s also a sense of empowerment for the band, clinging to each decision they make, and hoping they can make it out.
Jeremy Saulnier writes and directs this horror with apt vision and succinct intention. It’s impressive how the tension is racked up and never dulled over the course of its runtime. This was a hard rock no holds barred film with high moshpit-like energy and high stakes. It also proved Patrick Stewart can be sinister. Who knew? Now we do.
There are cinematographic choices that make this limited space feel especially tarnished, each piece of wood worn, each darkened crevice hollow and deep, which makes the setting of Green Room horrifying.
Green Room doesn’t shy away from the violence and shocks, creating some relentlessly disturbing aesthetics. The cast is stellar and the suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat.