Green Room (Sundance Review)
One of the most buzzed about films during the festival circuit last year was Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room (we saw it first at Cannes, then TIFF, and now Sundance, its last major festival before a limited release in April). Following up his successful indie thriller Blue Ruin, Saulnier doubles down on just about every aspect: more thrills, more kills, more discomfort, and perhaps most impressive, more narrative. Green Room is a fierce, white-knuckle blood fest that doesn’t stop for air once it gets going.
A struggling punk band appropriately named The Ain’t Rights tour around to any local scene willing to listen, but they haven’t had much luck. Just as they’re about to throw in the towel and head back home, they catch wind of a promising gig, but it comes with a small caveat—the isolated venue is home to a bunch of skinheads. While backstage, the band accidentally witnesses a murder, and from there things spiral out of control. The owner of the venue (a methodical Patrick Stewart) contains the band members in a room while he devises a plan to eliminate them as witnesses, but the band doesn’t give up easy. They come up with their own strategy to make it out alive, and that’s when Green Room transitions from being a thriller to a horror film. The film unfolds like a bloody chess match between both sides, each using any available trick and traps to their advantage.
Green Room is a vivid nightmare that’s impossible to get out of your head. More than just a gruesome blood bath, the film is surprisingly witty and expertly crafted. Saulnier keeps you in suspense until the very end.