Sundance Review: Green Room

Published 10:25 am Wednesday, February 3, 2016

by Lauren Bradshaw

A fellow DC’er, Jeremy Saulnier’s new film “Green Room” is a triumph in edge-of-your-seat thrills and nail-biting suspense. Building off of the success of his debut film “Blue Ruin,” Salunier’s latest is even more intense than its predecessor. At the Q&A, Saulnier said he had been offered some bigger scripts after the success of “Blue Rin,” but decided to work on this story that he had in his mind for over a decade. Lucky us, because writer/directors like him are the key to ensuring genre movies stay on Hollywood’s radar, and on our movie screens.

A hardcore punk rock band, featuring Pat (Anton Yelchin), Sam (Alia Shawkat), Tiger (Callum Turner), and Reece (Joe Cole), are touring through the country, making pit stops to play random gigs along the way. When one gig falls through and the band isn’t paid as much as they were promised, the promoter feels awful and gets his cousin to hire them to play in a bar a few towns away. The only downside is, the bar is frequented and run by white supremacists/neo-Nazis.

At first, the band thinks they will be able to handle the ultra conservative crowd. They even have the nerve to cover the Dead Kennedy’s song “Nazi Punks **** Off.” But when Pat stumbles upon the grisly murder of a young girl, the band, along with another female attendee Amber (Imogen Poots), become targets themselves. Out of fear that the band will tell the police what they saw, the group’s leader Darcy (Patrick Stewart) decides none of them can leave the bar alive. So, the group barricades themselves in their green room, waiting for the right moment to find their way out.

“Green Room” is absolutely brutal at times, with Saulnier not being afraid to show the horrifying reality of the situation. In fact, the gore is just as hardcore as the music. From vicious dog attacks, to faces being blown off thanks to a shotgun, this movie isn’t for the faint of heart. There were quite a few times I was looking at the screen through my fingers. But I would argue that this mimics what would happen in real life. A few of the most shocking elements of the movie were also completely unpredictable; so much so in one particular moment I (along with the rest of the audience) screamed.

Unfortunately, there are a few bad animal scenes that I wish would have been cut out (or not shot at all), but at the end of the Q&A Saulnier gave a good reason to why he decided to use that idea. He wanted to show pitbulls are sweet dogs and it’s the fault of a bad owner that makes them vicious. And in fact, this theme can be applied to the rest of the movie, through the lens of “pack leader” (Patrick Stewart’s sinister turn as Darcy) turning a group of impressionable young men bad.

Continuing their reputation of distributing fantastic films, A24 bought “Green Room,” which is scheduled to come out April 15 of this year. Definitely make sure you catch this one in theaters, not only for the loud soundtrack, which sets the tone of the film, but also to make sure you have no distractions and can fully focus on everything that happens.

My Review: B+

LAUREN BRADSHAW, who is from Courtland, is a lover of all movies, even the bad ones. Follow her on twitter@flickchickdc and her blog is