The Green Room is just a simple movie with a straightforward premise but manages to become an engrossing horror thanks to its creative spin on the Don’t go into the Woods trope.
Instead of throwing a couple of young people at the hands of some big bad and have them run around as they get killed in order, the movie leaves the hapless youths trapped in the Green Room. Should they wait or fight a bunch of Neo-Nazis?
This plot structure leads to unpredictable and thrilling turns with fitting bloody violence. The band members face knives, shotguns, and an occasional pit bull in a well-paced plot. Their actions are believable and the psychological pressures they undergo is palpable.
They’re brought to life by actors who do look like a band that sorely needs a shower and a hot meal. While Anthony Yelchin seems to be the lead in this story, Imogen Poots delivers a great performance as the unexpected ally against a club owner.
Though his name Darcy – played by Patrick Stewart – bears no hint of menace, the place he owns at the backwoods exceeds its true reputation. Production value provides a fully realized world – the set design gives the place a lived-in dirty look, and cinematography works well with editing to articulate its small space.
The camera doesn’t focus too much on the wince-inducing results of the punks vs. Neo-Nazis showdown and stays with the characters. So you do become interested as to who will survive long enough to get out the front door alive.
However, we know nothing about these characters. As they get killed one by one, it’s curiosity instead of emotional investment, that will keep you glued to the screen to find out.
Still, the movie is able to make the characters distinguishable from each other. The Green Room captures a horrifying event in their lives and portrays it in a convincing sequence of tension-filled moments. As the movie finishes with a cathartic ending, you will feel both relieved and a bit exhausted.
The Green Room is an example of a rarity these days – a simple well-executed horror that re-works familiar elements to new enjoyable results. It’s an unapologetic B-movie that’s not here to tell you about the twisted moral compass of extremists and the horrible people who take advantage of their blind devotion for their own gain.
It shows that while we may know the potential dangers that lurk in the woods, we can never tell if we’re prepared enough to face the banal yet efficient evil in it.