Have you ever decided to go to the cinema and just pick a film that you know nothing about? That’s what I did with Green Room, all I knew was that it was a horror (not my favourite genre), it was about a punk band and Patrick Stewart was in it. If nothing else, it was going to be interesting. And it was an engaging, if gory, ride.
The Aint Rights are a punk band, holding true to their love of the music and disdain for authority. Left broke on the road without a gig, they agree to play at an isolated club so that they will have the cash to get home. The club turns out to be a neo-nazi headquarters and their plan to play and leave goes awry when they see something they shouldn’t.
The horror genre often works by stretching out suspense to breaking point and we are so familiar with this technique that it is difficult to create real surprise. We second-guess the action, feeling confident that we know there will be victims but the heroes will survive. Not so with Green Room. There is minimal false suspense and the fate of the main characters seems real and terrible.
There are some faces you’ll recognise – Imogen Poots and Alia Shawkat hold their own, Poots in particular channelling a character far removed from Blanche Ingram in Jane Eyre (2011). The baddies are not all two-dimensional and there is something delicious about Patrick Stewart as the calculating club owner. There are survivors but perhaps not who you expect. Enjoy the ride, you just might need to cover your eyes occasionally.
Bechdel test – pass