Review: ‘Green Room’ is Savage, Knuckle-White, and Great Fun

Punk rock and horror should go hand-in-hand – both need to be loud, fast and resolutely NSFW – but often the results are embarrassing. Just as writer/director Jeremy Saulnier brought humanity back to the revenge flick in 2013’s Blue Ruin, here he brings proper scares and smarts to the punk-horror subgenre.

Fabulously named band the Ain’t Rights (Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Mark Webber and Joe Cole) tour America in their shitty van, stealing petrol and sleeping on fans’ floors. When they head off to play a backwoods bar populated by skinheads it is, predictably, depressing. Though Saulnier does unearth one moment of beauty amid the endless grime: a blissed out, slo-mo shot of the crowd moshing, making them look both elegant and idiotic all at once – which is surely part of the appeal.

Backstage it’s a different story. A female fan’s just been murdered in the epnoymous Green Room, and the Ain’t Rights soon find themselves locked in with her, local girl Imogen Poots and thug Eric Edelstein, as the local big bad Patrick Stewart and his goons wait outside – a sweaty stalemate.

What follows is essentially a savage little siege movie, but one that’s filled with convincing character details. Stewart instructs his heavies: “Blades only, sloppy is fine, try not to hit the bone”; allegiances switch as the tension mounts; and one character’s blood loss leads, as well it might, to a kind of stoned rapture. When it’s not knuckle-white with implied violence, Green Room is also great fun, something those moshers understand too well.

‘Green Room’ Movie Times | ‘Blue Ruin’ VOD options