Review: Green Room (2016)

My Plot review: Recommended
Star rating: Star rating of 5


Back in the halcyon days of 2013, director Jeremy Saulnier came from nowhere with the exceptional revenge thriller 'Blue Ruin', a film that was met with rapturous acclaim and singled out Saulnier as one to watch. Needless to say, his follow up, Green Room, had a lot to live up to.

I guess improving on every single aspect of that film is one way to respond to that kind of pressure.

Saunier collects some of the hottest young actors working today and forms The Ain't Rights, a punk rock band who after witnessing a murder is forced into a vicious fight for survival against a group of maniacal skinheads led by the terrifying Patrick Stewart.

What follows is one of the most tense and gripping films I've seen in over a decade. Capturing the claustrophobic nature of its setting and putting together a group of characters you invest yourselves in within the first 20 minutes of the film, Saulnier proceeds to bludgeon both the cast and the audience with violence most visceral but never unnecessary. As a veteran horror fan of 33 years, no film has made me flinch in the way 'Green Room' did and not once did I find the level of violence to be shocking for shocks sake.

Patrick Stewart exemplifies the approach cast and crew take to this film. Darcy in another director's hands could have been all bluster and scene stealing but what Saulnier does is command a quiet, unnerving performance from an actor we are so used to being onside with.

"It's not the actions of Darcy that make him so scary, it's the intelligence and calm Stewart emanates that makes him such a memorable antagonist. I'll take that over sending used condoms to your co-stars any day."

Maicon Blair, star of 'Blue Ruin' also deserves a mention as the more "sympathetic" of the enemy. Like Stewart, his performance is subtle and calm until things go wrong. Instead of flipping out, Blair teases the anxiety out of Gabe and left me wondering just where his character was going to end up. Because this is a film where no ones fate is certain.

Punk rock, tension, violence and gore. It's my dream film made real.

The last time I was blown away like this by a genre pic, it was 'The Raid' and no disrespect to that minor masterpiece but 'Green Room' wipes the floor with it before smashing it's head through a door frame.

Sorry 'Midnight Special', THIS is the film to beat this year.

Green Room is released in the UK this Friday 13th May.