HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Green Room
HTS Overall Score:82
It’s strange watching a movie with so much death in it starring an actor that just recently died. Anton Yelchin appears in what is most likely his last film on earth after a tragic accident, and it just so happens to be one of his best works to date. Director Jeremy Saulnier has really made a mark on the creative world with his first two feature films “Murder Party” and “Blue Ruin”. “Blue Ruin” was actually the film that turned me on to the director as it portrays a revenge plot in a sympathetic way that actually allows for character development instead of being mind numbing and stupid. “Green Room” follows that pattern of attributing human characteristics and flaws to otherwise evil people and horrible circumstances. This time it’s a high tension thriller/horror situation where only the strong survive. “Blue Ruin” may have been a slow and slow burning film, but “Green Room” is a bite your nails type of thriller that doesn’t let go until the final moments of the movie when audiences can gasp out a breath for once in the 95 minute runtime.
The movie chronicles the touring of a small punk rock band called “The Ain’t Rights” who are traveling around to small locations around the U.S., barely scraping by. After a gig goes horribly wrong, the manager of the gig offers them a final shot at making some money before heading home. A little gig at an out of the way neo nazi skinhead club in the middle of the forest. Desperate for the money the crew arrives at the joint and plays their little lineup and are just heading out when a single moments defines the next few hours. Guitarist Pat (Anton Yelchin) heads back into the green room to grab bassist Sam’s (Alia Shawkwat) phone when the group witnesses a dead body in the middle of their room. Now trapped in the green room at the mercy of these Neo Nazis, along with club regular Amber (Imogen Poots), the band is confronted by Darcy (Patrick Stewart), the club’s owner and the head of the Neo Nazi movement in that area.
With time running out and a whole lot of bad guys on the other side of the door, Pat and the rest of the band have to figure out a way to try and make it out alive. That plan is, of course, hampered by Darcy and his crew who have everything at their disposal to make the visiting band’s night a living hell. Guns, machetes, killer dogs, broken light bulbs, and even more are used in a bloody disgusting battle for survival. Mix in a dash of betrayal and cold blooded murder and we have ourselves one of THE best horror movies of the last year.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=74529[/img]I’m usually VERY jaded about horror movies, with 99% of them being total garbage, but “Green Room” beat every one of my expectations. Even though I knew a little bit about the nuances that Jeremy Saulnier’s work I was still giddy with excitement by the time the movie ended. The tension is through the roof and once the band sees the dead girl, the movie doesn’t let go until the bitter end. The audience is constantly left wondering who will make it out alive or if ANYONE would make it out alive, as there seems to be no mercy or traditional tropes to rely on. The violence is beyond brutal with hands being hacked off, people being gutted with box cutters, and heads being imploded by shotgun shells. The gore just oozes from every corner and gore hounds will NOT be disappointed in the bloodbath that follows the first 30 minutes of fairly quiet exposition.
With that being said, there is also a rather human feeling to the whole thing. Which is strange when you’re almost sympathizing with Neo Nazi murderers. But I guess it makes sense when you realize that through the veneer of their hate they ARE actually human inside. Alliances are forged, bonds are broken and consciences are plucked at over the night, leaving holes in the ranks that allow for the inevitable showdown at dawn. Patrick Stewart stands out as playing one of the most unique characters in all of his long and varied film history. His brusque demeanor and short speaking create for a fantastic old and wizened Neo Navi leader, and the tortured and seemingly reasonable club manager, Gabe (Macon Blair, who shows up in all three of Jeremy Saulnier’s films) is another highlight. The rest do a fantastic job, Anton Yelchin included, but those two are the ones you just can’t take your eyes off of.
The film is a simple premise, and one that has been seen before. A group of people are trapped in a remote location and have to fight their way to survival through ranks of evil minions. Saulnier keeps the location tight and the actor’s even tighter allowing for very little down time in the film to start nitpicking little details. The tension is taught as can be, and he never lets the film slack in any way, allowing for the audience to just be pulled along for the ride. It’s a simple, brutal, and yet simultaneously effective method making for a fantastic film.
Rated R for strong brutal graphic violence, gory images, language and some drug content
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=74537[/img]“Green Room” comes to Blu-ray with a very nice, if not rather dim, looking 2.40:1 AVC encoded transfer. The film itself was shot digitally and is color graded with an, ironically, green looking lens filter. Shot mostly at night within the confines of the dimly lit club, the green filter is augmented by amber artificial lighting that bleeds through the darkness as well as a nice amount of detail present on screen. Despite the heavy oppressive darkness, there is still quite a bit of fine detail to be seen. Deep bloody arm sockets, white powder dusting a dead man’s face, and the individual streaks of dirt and war paint on Pat and Amber’s face near the end of the movie all are seen with impressive clarity. Black levels tend to stay deep and inky, with only a few bits and pieces here and there that suffer with poor shadow detail. It’s a dimly lit image, but one that looks great despite the hurdles that the darkness entails.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=74545[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is even better, allowing for the horror and chaos that ensues to be replicated with pinpoint precision and ease. The hardcore punk music fills the soundstage with a roaring and aggressive tone that pushes ahead the brutality of the movie, and fills every channel with raw surging power. The surrounds are constantly in action with the score, as well as the creaking of doors and scrabbling of dog’s feet across the slippery stage. The dialog is never in question and sounds crisp and evenly balanced with the roaring thunder of the rest of the audio experience. The dynamic range is massive, with moments where Patrick Stewart is whispering through a door punctuated by the snarling of a dog and the crashing of metal on wood. LFE is tight and punchy, but also ferocious and unrelenting as it adds a pulsing downbeat to the film throughout and of course adding some weight the punk music in the background.
• Audio Commentary with Director Jeremy Saulnier
• Into the Pit: Making Green Room - Featurette
“Green Room” is the sleeper horror hit of the year, completely sideswiping me as the jaded horror nut that I am. It’s tense, brutal, sharply witty, and has the distinct pleasure to being my favorite horror flick of the last year. With so many blockbuster ghost and slasher flicks out there every year, it’s always hard to find the really great ones among the drek, but “Green Room” is one that I’m truly glad I stuck around to watch. It marks the passing of an actor who died way too young in life, as well as the rising of a truly great director (in my eyes). Audio and video are great, and despite the small amount of extras, the movie is WELL worth picking up if you love your horror movies brutal and gut punching.
Starring: Imogen Poots, Patrick Stewart, Antoin Yelchin
Directed by: Jeremy Saulnier
Written by: Jeremy Saulnier
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 95 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: July 12th, 2016
Buy Green Room On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Great Watch
More about Mike