No doubt, the main selling point of Green Room is the opportunity to see Patrick Stewart playing a ruthless neo-Nazi skinhead with a penchant for violence.
From that perspective it doesn’t disappoint; Stewart fits right into this sinister role with ease. Though he has less screen time than people might expect, the time he does spend there is priceless.
The film opens with a punk band on the road, struggling for money as they play gigs at dead-end bars. On the recommendation of a contact who says he can set them up with a good deal – and prefaces it with a warning – they end up playing at a club for neo-Nazi’s in the woods one night. From there you can probably guess how things go; though the band almost come through the gig unscathed, an unfortunate case of ‘wrong place, wrong time’ soon turns menacing for each of them.
Be warned: at certain points this film does get pretty violent. Dogs chewing people’s throats out, arms hacked almost in half, a belly being slit open… To be fair it doesn’t go much further than that, and I’ve certainly seen worse. This isn’t fully hardcore shit; in fact I wouldn’t even consider it primarily a ‘slasher’ movie. But those with a stomach of lesser strength may feel differently.
Instead Green Room is best considered as a tense, atmospheric thriller with horror elements and the occasional moment of dark comedy. I’d say it has definite ‘cult’ potential. Director Jeremy Saulnier also made 2013’s Blue Ruin, regarded by some as one of the best films of its year. Whether this follow-up will have the same appeal remains to be seen, but for 95 minutes of violent fun there’ll be few other movies in 2016 better.
8 / 10