Green Room

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When punk rock band The Ain’t Rights hits hard times, they’ll go just about anywhere for their next paying gig. Unfortunately, anywhere happens to be a rundown, beat up, hellpit of a bar out in the sticks of Oregon.

After playing to a crowd of swastika-sporting neo-Nazis, Pat (Yelchin), Sam (Shawkat), Reece (Cole), and Tiger (Turner) make for a hasty exit when they’re held up by a macabre discovery; a woman has been murdered in the titular Green Room. And by murdered I mean she’s got a goddamn knife in her head. It’s awful. Just awful. When it becomes clear that escape isn’t an option, a chaotic scene erupts. Within the maelstrom, the clarity of the sad state of affairs crystallizes, forcing the terrified Ain’t Rights to make some nearly impossible decisions.

Doing the unthinkable comes a bit more easily when faced with your own probable demise. Relying on the help of a stranger by the name of Amber (Poots) — who also happens to be a friend of the slain woman — the group must determine who they can trust, if anyone.

Throughout the rest of this white-knuckle, gasp-out-loud, grab-your-barf-bucket, pass-the-Xanax, and so on and so forth thrill ride, the band must keep their wits about them to escape the clutches of Captain Jean-Luc Picard himself — Patrick Stewart — who plays the curator of this fine establishment, Darcy, and his evil henchmen.

Never in one statement have I ever hyphenated so much. I’m hyphen-ventilating.

I’m sorry. I’ll show myself out.

Green Room is being widely regarded as a horror film, but I was lucky enough to participate in a Q&A with the film’s Writer and Director, Jeremy Saulnier who shed some light on that very thing. His take on the whole thing is that the movie is definitely a thriller, but more than anything, it’s a film about war. Which, if you see it, makes total sense. I think it’s that creepy-ass cover of “Bad Moon Rising” in the trailer that gives the indication that it’s a horror movie. And any flick in which people are dying in large numbers often gets pegged in that category. That’s one of the coolest things about Green Room; it’s definitely not what you expect.

Saulnier spoke about his own youth. Growing up, he listened almost exclusively to punk rock cassettes on his Walkman. As someone who used to spend more time than I’d like to admit at shows where people sported clothing held together by safety pins and wore poorly constructed mohawks held up mostly by Elmer’s Glue, I don’t necessarily share his love of this music. That said, I totally get why people dig it.

I’ve never been in a mosh pit and thought, “This is where I belong,” and to see Saulnier — a mild-mannered guy — at least in a Q&A setting — regaling us with tales of his youth and participation in that scene, I guess it really does take all kinds.

In the same vein as what 10 Cloverfield Lane did with John Goodman, Green Room made Patrick Stewart into one of the scariest MFs I’ve ever seen. Saulnier spoke on that as well. He said, and I quote, “We didn’t pick Patrick Stewart. Patrick Stewart picked us. And we were like, ‘Okay! … Great!’ and our minds were just blown.” He talked about working with a man who has such a legacy in film and television. How he thought this guy would come on set and you would be warned about looking him in the eye, but not surprising to me at all, he said that wasn’t the case in the slightest.

While it may not be a horror movie, it is nightmare-ish, but in a much different way than your classic slasher flicks. Without giving too much away, Green Room is packed with stellar performances. Anton Yelchin is a superstar. That kid’s going places. He is wildly and effortlessly talented. Poots is just so cool, too. She’s like the girl in high school who never really fit into any one clique, but everybody thought she was awesome and kinda scary. Solid cast, superb job done by all.

Green Room comes out in select theaters on April 15th and in wide release April 22nd. Expertly crafted and seamlessly executed, the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. It is funny and stressful and loud af.

Maybe my favorite part of the screening I attended was telling Saulnier that I watched his movie with my eyes and ears covered nearly the entire time. He was flattered.

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