If you thought Oregon was just hippies and homebrewers, think again. The Pacific Northwest has a thriving White Supremacist scene. “Green Room” is a smart, backwoods horror flick about a punk band that runs afoul of some of these Neo-Nazis.
Living desperately from gig to gig, siphoning gas to keep their van going, and sleeping wherever they can, the punk band, the Ain't Rights, can't really afford to say no to a paying gig. They are leery of an offer to play a rural,White Supremacist venue, but they are assured they will be out before dark, and skinheads are really nothing new to a punk band, anyway. When a member of the band witnesses a murder, however, things get complicated. The Ain't Rights find themselves hostage, locked in a dressing room. While the skinheads, led by a chilling Patrick Stewart, figure out what to do with them, the band try to figure out an escape, assisted by the dead girl's friend (Imogen Poots).
“Green Room” earns a hard-R rating for the kind of violence that will give you nightmares. It isn't just the gore that will get your heart rate up, the constant menace is terrifying. Don't expect everyone to make it out alive or un-mangled. For those willing to deal with some serious horror, however, you are in for a treat. This is a smart, thrilling horror flick, beautifully filmed, with excellent performances. Patrick Stewart is terrifyingly convincing as the head neo-Nazi, and not just because of his shaved head. Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov on the new Star Trek movies and died this past year, is outstanding.
By definition, characters in horror movies make bad decisions. The difference between good and bad horror is whether those bad decisions are character-driven or plot-driven. Character-driven decisions are made by characters who have been developed so that their mistakes make sense for that character and that situation. Plot-driven decisions, the product of lazy storytelling, are frustratingly nonsensical, and only occur because the progression of the plot demands them. In “Green Room,” the characters do some stupid things, but they are the kind of stupid things young,inexperienced people might do. Their bad decisions are character-driven, and that's what elevates this film above its genre.
4 stars out of 5