Movie Review: Green Room

Green-Room-movie-poster-691x1024“Green Room” is one of the most highly anticipated movies by musicians and horror fans in a long time. Does it live up to the hype? Definitely. Is it this year’s Silence of the Lambs? Probably not. So many people have questions, I’m going to write this review as a Q&A.

Is it horrifying? Is it gory?

Not like Texas Chainsaw Massacre horrifying and gory. The shocking part is that people can be so brutal, and the characters are human enough to really make the brutality stand out. The other thing that has given the film its bloody reputation is the use of incredibly realistic injuries. Some of the effects are so gnarly they make you laugh darkly, like “Ohhh, duuude, I can’t believe you showed that!” But the most horrible things are done just off screen, and you are left with only the screaming and crunching to figure out what is going on.

Is it true to punk rock, or are they like Quincy punks?

Director Jeremy Saulnier, who also made the lauded revenge movie Blue Ruin, was a hardcore punker himself, so it’s pretty dead-on. Nothing seemed out-of-place. They listen to FEAR, they play a Dead Kennedy’s cover. Everyone’s look is pretty toned down, so they could be from any era. There are no fake mohawks.

Is it the punks against the skinheads, like the West Side Story of punk?

Not really. I already knew too much about the plot before I saw it. I would have liked to have more left to the imagination, so I will be brief. It is an “under siege” style movie with some revenge thrown in. Trapped backstage after witnessing a murder, a young punk band has only its wits and MacGyver-like ingenuity to count on. Rather than a linear plot with an obvious buildup to the final battle, it is a series of little skirmishes taking place under the umbrella of the main storyline. Each group plots against the other, like in Spy vs. Spy. You start to think one side is winning, and then, no! A bullet to the head! Shocker! And everyone scrambles to find their balance again.

Why skinheads?

There is no white power rhetoric in the movie. They are just criminals. I think it was a way of saying, “And I mean REALLY bad criminals.” Anyways, what other scary villains would a band on tour run into? Scary hillbillies has been overdone. The movie didn’t make me afraid of skinheads, or even afraid of Patrick Stewart. At least not yet. I’ll report back after the next time I’m alone backstage. With Patrick Stewart.

How was Patrick Stewart?

I wish they had not advertised Patrick Stewart as the villain, because at the beginning of the movie he is so convincing as a helpful negotiator. So charming. You start thinking, “Well, that sounds reasonable…but wait! He is the villain!” It would have been nice to see him slowly exposed as evil, surprising the audience as well as the characters.

What do you like most about the movie?

There isn’t a complex conspiracy you have to try to figure out. You can just sit back and enjoy the laughs and the scares. There are a lot of startles. A lot. One of them made me jump so hard I jammed my soda straw into my gums, so watch with care.

Standout performance?

Besides having a cool-ass name, Imogen Poots was totally believable as a lukewarm skinhead girl who turns on the skinheads when they kill her friend and joins forces with the punk band. She is an intense and kind of scary heroine.

Opens nationwide April 29th 

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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