‘We’re not keeping you here, you’re just staying…’
Survival horror is a tough genre to master as too often a film is played for shock and gore with nothing much else to offer. Films such as Hostel and Last House on the Left become notorious for their notoriety in a weird never ending cycle of blood and guts. To make a survival horror film work there needs to be something to set it apart from its peers, whether that be concept, characters or Patrick Stewart…
Green Room sees a desperate punk rock band agreeing to take a gig at a far right venue to help solve their cash problems. Without wanting to give anything away, things go south pretty fast from there. The first thing that helps Green Room stand out from the familiar drudgery of modern day horror is the excellent cast. I LOVE Imogen Poots and it is great to see her in an unfamiliar role as a punk rocker. Anton Yelchin and Alia Shawkat are solid but I was more impressed with Callum Turner and Joe Cole who round off a mostly English cast with a pair of charismatic performances. Turner also impressed in BBC’s recent adaptation of War & Peace and looks one to watch for the future.
Secondly, the concept is unique and interesting and the punk rock angle never becomes laboured. Lastly, whilst I mentioned earlier that horror films shouldn’t rely on blood and guts, that doesn’t mean I am averse to a little gore and Green Room has it in spades. The violence is shocking but never feels gratuitous, working more as a way to ramp up the tension than just to provide shock value.
Like We Are Still Here, Green Room has taken an unfashionable horror genre and turned it on its head to make something fresh, vibrant and incendiary. Director/writer Jeremy Saulnier has fashioned a surprising horror gem with the talents at his disposal and Green Room acts as a fitting end to the career of Anton Yelchin who tragically passed away in an accident shortly after filming.