Plot: A punk rock band called The Ain’t Rights is on a ramshackle tour, stealing gas and hoping gigs don’t fall through as they travel in their broken down van. But as usual, one of their scheduled shows is canceled, but a last minute replacement slot has opened up as well. The new show has them perform at a skinhead gathering, not an ideal platform for the band, but they’re desperate for cash. So the band takes the stage and does their usual songs, but they also belt out a cover of an anti-Nazi punk rock number, as if to take a little solace from the experience. The band leaves in a rush, but when they have to return to grab a forgotten phone, one of the members stumbles into a murder scene and tensions rise. In order to protect themselves, the band locks themselves inside a room and that proves to be wise, as the skinheads don’t seem too pleased that their crime has loose ends. But when the white supremacist leader shows up and unfurls a plan, can the band survive this horrific experience?
Entertainment Value: The premise here is an interesting one, as we have a group of friends who put financial needs over their personal beliefs, which lands them in a literal fight for survival. A desperate situation that leads to an even more desperate situation, the story here unfolds in a tense, often claustrophobic fashion that always has things right on the brink of disaster. Green Room is often talked about because of the bursts of graphic violence and those are memorable moments, but the overall atmosphere and Patrick Stewart are the real draws here, in my opinion. The violence is intense, but it is the slow burn and relentless tension that make those moments pop and more to the point, build toward that inevitable conclusion. The movie was smart to use skinheads as the villains, as the band isn’t likable and in most situations, wouldn’t endear much sympathy from an audience. But the hate group makes even the douche musicians look better, so it was a smart decision. Patrick Stewart is excellent here, as he is such a cold, calculating presence, with ruthless, violent thugs at his command, quite a scary little combination. The rest of the cast is fine as well, but no one really stands out aside from Stewart, who really shines in this grim role. A tense, effective thriller, Green Room is well recommended to those who appreciate a darker vision of the genre.
No nakedness. This is a fight to the finish once the fuse is lit, so no time to pursue the pleasures of the flesh here. As I said above, Green Room uses short, but powerful bursts of graphic violence and by turn, there is a good deal of bloodshed here. A man’s arm is hacked up and cut to ribbons, which is bad enough, but then he tries to duct tape back into some kind of homemade bandage. This is even worse than the original injuries and looks quite sick, shown in vivid detail. A nasty dog attack is also featured, though a second instance of dog mauling happens off screen. There’s also some nice boxcutter wounds, a stomach slash, and gross visions of mutilated corpses. A lot of the violence happens off screen, but the movie does hit a few of these big bursts in full sight with some impressive effects. The dialogue is tense and aggressive, with some hipster lingo from the band and hate speech from the skinhead. Well written, but not overly wild or memorable. The craziness scale ramps up for the sudden bursts of violence and overall desperate atmosphere, but Green Room still adheres to most of the usual survival thriller rules for the most part.
Overall Insanity: 2/10