26 September 2016 | Screen_Blitz
Extremely violent, gory but wildly exhilarating from beginning to end
Director Jeremy Saulnier exercises high pressure suspense and astonishing realism in this white-knuckle thriller following his surprising success with the ultra-violent 'Blue Ruins'. Though it doesn't fall deep in the category of originality or even groundbreaking in any sense, the intriguing fashion in which Saulnier executes this film and the immersive cinematography by Sean Porter used to capture the harrowing intensity and gloomy visuals result in a highly effective slasher treat; and even labeling the results effective feels like an understatement. While the shocking level of bloody violence and gore more than not make this tough sit-through, especially for the weak stomach; Saulnier pervades a true sense of realism in a way in which the film never feels exploitative, but wildly authentic. So this film follows a punk rock band consisting of twenty-something year olds including lead singer Tiger (played by Callum Turner), guitarist Sam (played by Alia Shawkat), bassist Pat (played by Anton Yelchin), and drummer Reece (played by Joe Cole). When the band is offered a gig by a radio host named Tad, they find themselves performing at nowhere other than an old bar run by neo-Nazi skinheads. After a successful performance, the band and their friend Amber (played by Imogen Poots) rushes out to their green room where they witness a murder by the hands of a sadistic skinhead. In fear of being held responsible for the murders, skinhead leader Darcy Banker (played by Patrick Stewart) arrives an orders his gangs to eliminate the witnesses, leading the band to a bloody fight for survival.
Jeremy Saulnier grants this intensely violent thriller with a gift to not only leave viewers shocked and squirming in their seats, but present an atmosphere so visceral to the point of giving viewers the feeling of not watching a gruesome slasher, but a real-life event unfolding on camera; and the scariest aspect of this film how brutally realistic it turns out on screen. Saulnier does such an amazing job on capturing the brutal intensity of each moment as the characters desperately battle their way through a violent bloodbath against a gang of white supremacists that threaten their young lives, and the camera work done by Sean Porter makes for great use to capture these dreadful moments. At various moments, the film intensifies to the point where you may constantly remind have to yourself you are not trapped inside the bar with the characters. While Saulnier's execution and Sean Porter's cinematography do justice, they only make up the half of the equation. The latter half is successfully achieved by Saulnier's screenplay. Instead of relying on the usual slasher horror stereotypes like the jock, the pot smoker, or the hot chick, Saulnier populated the film with characters that feel very believable and the dialogue these characters deliver more often than not feels typical to real-life college kids, thus adding to the insane realism. While the performances the actors are decent, the biggest stand out by far is Patrick Stewart, suiting the role of the main antagonist. Stewart gives a truly haunting performance as what is a major departure from his usual typecast. Though his character is limited to do nothing but giving orders, the portrayal Stewart lands as this character truly hits hard.
Green Room is an exhilarating slasher-horror thriller with a constant sense of fright and thrills, making it one of the most spine-chilling horror films to be released in recent years. Though the extreme violent and realistic depiction of gore can may make this one a difficult sit-through, it is a must-see for all horror fans.