Blue Ruin established Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier as a versatile and innovative filmmaker. Taking a genre movie and skewing it with his own vision - a la Blood Simple. With Green Room Saulnier takes the horror-thriller tropes and rather than try to reinvent or fudge our expectations delivers something worryingly unsettling.
The opening of Green Room introduces us to our vagrant band, The Ain’t Rights. Although the start is used to establish the characters the camera takes the time to observe rather force familiarity and faux-sympathy for what's to come. With very little dialogue we learn the band is in dire straits and in danger of having to pack it all up and go home. With an offer of some real money at a far right (or "technically extreme left") club our rockers win over the neo-nazis before witnessing the aftermath of a possible murder.
Here begins our descent in terror as The Ain’t Rights are locked in the green room, but rather than simply play out the siege formula or lean on the cheap tricks of horror Green Room goes another way.
There's nothing wrong with the tried-and-tested song of the near supernatural antagonist rushing the team of teens. It's a solid formula filling our multiplexes and flickering Friday night television sets. However, when it's not an almost invincible figure and a group of very real and capable skin heads protecting their source of income it becomes down right scary. While the boots and braces brigade falter and figure things out to begin with, Darcy - a deliciously underplayed and cold Patrick Stewart - arrives to formulate a plan and martial the troops. It's a wonderful coup to see the routine good guy play a calculating commander. Although Stewart clearly relishes the opportunity, he instead delivers a role with clinical precision. Making a harder choice to concentrate on the character rather than the audacious opportunity. The very real situation and the sometimes practical ways in which the band members are dispatched only serves to pile on the worry. Rather than mad-axemen or cackling pursuers, Darcy's boys are unpleasantly comfortable with execution. It's a truly frightening experience.
4* - The Slash: Dungeon's Calling