Believe it or not, but I’ve always wanted to be in a band. I can’t sing and I can’t play any instruments either, also, I don’t have the confidence needed to go onto a stage and perform. However, aside from these rather tedious obstructions, I’ve always found myself wanting to give it a go. After seeing Green Room, I can’t say I’m all that keen to play a gig for skinheads, but the chances of that happening are hopefully slim. Green Room is a horror from the minds over at A24, the thinking man’s independent film distributor, if said thinking man has only seen three hundred films and spends all their time discussing films on Twitter. From that vein of cinema comes a story of a punk rock group who must fight for their lives when accidentally witnessing a murder in a Neo-Nazi bar.
Directed by Jeremy Saulnier, the film is competently cast. How they managed to coax both the late Anton Yelchin and also Patrick Stewart into some prominent roles throughout is perplexing to say the least. Alongside these two powerhouses are Imogen Poots, who for the past five years has carried the weight of tedious independent cinema on her back like a trooper, and Alia Shawkat, who many may know from the delightful comedy Arrested Development. The casting is truly impressive, and all four of these recognisable faces give out performances that are nothing short of great. Their dedication their roles makes for tantalising viewing.
It’s just a shame the film itself doesn’t come together all that well. A film all about survival, not against ghosts, zombies or other horrors, but against human beings. This should’ve added a layer of real fear, especially if we consider Green Room to be a horror/thriller mash-up. Yelchin and his band fighting for survival against a skinhead Patrick Stewart armed with a revolver would’ve been a truly terrifying scene had it been directed with intrigue or layered correctly. It’s a shame too, especially since Saulnier directed the great Blue Ruin a couple of years before dropping us off at a far-right pub with murderous intent.
Although Stewart provides us with a figurehead of horrors, Green Room fails to build up its henchmen and villains all that well. Nameless faces who appear only for a couple of scenes and are then offed in rather conventional and expected fashions. The same goes for our group of terrified protagonists, most of which aren’t all that engaging. Sluggish action sequences are littered throughout, and most of it is poorly lit, all in that saturated A24 style that has, for whatever reason, become loved by many.
Green Room has a lot of problems, but I couldn’t help but enjoy aspects of it. There are certainly a great handful of issues, from the lighting to the script, but Yelchin, Poots and Stewart bring us some exceptional work, managing to salvage the film from waste of time into forgettable and enjoyable. Decent performances and a nice bit of tension can be found in pockets throughout this amicable piece of film.