“Green Room,” directed by Jeremy Saulnier, was shot on a budget of just $5 million, according to Vox. This pales in comparison to the $175 million spent on “The Jungle Book” and the $250 million needed for “Batman v Superman.”
But “Green Room” provides nonstop thrills, from its bloody start to its even bloodier ending. The film has received positive reviews in film festivals and generous critical praise, yet continues to see a smaller audience than it deserves.
Here’s why you need to watch “Green Room” when it hits your local theater.
The premise is gripping
A punk band, living from cheap gig to cheap gig, reluctantly takes a job at a neo-Nazi-run bar in Oregon. The crowd is raucous, but the show goes well. After witnessing a murder backstage, however, the band is held hostage and finds itself at war with an army of skinheads.
This is a movie of counterculture versus counterculture.
It doesn’t feel like any movie made today
“Green Room” takes place in the present. Characters use cellphones, which actually end up being part of the film’s most inciting incident. But the movie feels like it’s from a different era.
Movies about punk bands are rare these days, let alone ones that uses violence this graphically. “Green Room” evokes survival-based horror classics like “Deliverance” and “Straw Dogs.” But while those movies are about civilization creeping in on the uncivilized, this one is about two fringe groups, one worse than the other, butting heads.
It’s a great movie to experience with a crowd
There are two types of movies that are vastly improved by a live audience’s reaction: comedy and horror. “Green Room” contains a little of both. It is great on its own, but really feeds off the energy of a crowd.
One such scene is the moment when the band members and their new friend-by-circumstance Amber (Imogen Poots) have a standoff on opposite sides of a door, as the bar’s owner (Patrick Stewart) stands on one side, promising to let them leave unharmed if they surrender. Like much of the movie, the scene is unbearably tense, so expect to hear a lot of screaming and shouting in your theater.
The characters are great
If Saulnier were a bad director, it would feel like this movie was created simply for shock value. Luckily, with just two other films under his belt (“Murder Party” and “Blue Ruin”), he is one of the best filmmakers working today. Besides his eye for action, Saulnier creates characters you come to care about.
Saulnier was in a punk band, and you feel that a lot of the movie draws from this.
Except for the flesh-eating dogs, of course.
Sure, this is a small movie and you might just want to wait until it comes out on demand. But this is the sort of rare film you should rush out to see on the big screen.
Just prepare for gore.