Punk and horror films really do go together like peanut butter and jelly. The hard edge of the punk scene and the gory, gruesome love of horror films fit together way too perfectly, so its no surprise that a film like Green Room works so well. Director Jeremy Saulnier’s film tells the story of a traveling punk band of four, lead by Pat (Anton Yelchin) and Sam (Alia Shawkat), as they travel across rural America. Their tour of cheap beer and debauchery takes them to a venue in the middle of nowhere, run by some shady individuals. After a disappointing show, they retreat backstage to eventually come across a grisly scene of violence. What comes after is a marathon race full of violence, unrelenting tension and some of the most gruesome onscreen violence in years, as they discover that this shady pub is actually run by a gang of modern day neo-nazis lead by the absolutely and unexpectedly terrifying Darcy (MVP of the movie Patrick Stewart).
Coming off of the incredibly underrated Blue Ruin (which, if you haven’t seen, you’re really missing out on a great thriller), Saulnier sets up an absolutely thrilling story of a gig gone wrong. The tension that is built up is staggering, and is eventually relieved through the use of extreme violence. Bones break and so does the tension in the air, and blood spills as emotions run high. What makes Green Room even more effective is the fact that these are realistic characters with faults, fears, and aspirations. Instead of turning into instant bad-asses, these characters go through mental breakdowns and personal dilemmas as they deal with the horror that is presented to them. This is best displayed by the character of Amber (Imogen Poots), who doesn’t even come into play until later, but is an instant scene-stealer. On the opposite side of the coin, you have the utterly menacing Patrick Stewart as neo-nazi leader Darcy. Walking around and barking orders without hesitation, Darcy plays like the game master to this sick world. Add these performances to an already tension-filled film and you have one of the best brutal thrillers in years. If you love punk music or horror films in any way, this film was made for you.
dir. Jeremy Saulnier
Screens Thursday, 12/1, 7:00 @ Emerson College
Part of the ongoing series: Bright Lights