Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Short Attention Span Review: Green Room (2015)

Short Attention Span Review: Green Room (2015)

Like most anyone who has been in a band and performed live, I've certainly seen my share of bad gigs.  Most of these lousy affairs make for funny stories, but The Ain't Rights (the struggling punk outfit at the center of Green Room) aren't so fortunate.  No, the bad gig that paves the way for this grim and wildly intense horror film is no laughing matter.  The movie takes its time with the opening reel, introducing us to the band and letting us get to know them a bit as they stagger through the last few stops on a humbling tour.  This pitiful venture is so profitable that the band has to siphon gas to keep their ragged van in motion, and while it may seem like quite the struggle, it's merely an appetizer for the carnage that Green Room unleashes after the band takes on a sketchy gig in the outskirts of Portland.  It is there that a gruesome struggle for survival will unfold as our likable heroes are hounded by some truly fearsome villains.  These bad guys are led by Patrick Stewart as a heroin-selling white supremacist named Darcy, and the man many know as Captain Picard or Charles Xavier makes for quite the icy fiend.  Stewart's performance here is undoubtedly one of Green Room's greatest assets.  Of course, the entire cast does a great job, with the late Anton Yelchin shining as Pat, the bassist and emotional center of the band.  Yelchin was one hell of a talent and he will be missed.  Other standouts in this dire shocker include Alia Shawkat as one of Pat's bandmates and Imogen Poots as a stranger who is stuck in the same dire predicament as The Ain't Rights.  The movie looks and sounds great--obviously, a picture like this needs a killer score, and I think the soundtrack is yet another tremendous asset to Green Room.  The violence is shocking and potent but never gratuitous, and the leisurely beginning really pays off as the movie grows darker and more vicious in the second and third acts.  There are no annoying characters we want to see killed off, so each death is a tragic blow given our affection for the players involved.  Writer and director Jeremy Saulnier is obviously a gifted cat, and while some may peg this as more of a thriller, I'm ready to anoint Green Room as the best new horror film that I've seen in 2016.

Final Grade: A 

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