Updated: Jul 19, 2021
The 292nd review!
I don’t know if it’s just me, but it really seems like Netflix’ horror selection is a lot weaker than in past years. I sometimes spend 30-t0-45 minutes just going through the streaming sites and watching trailers trying to come across something before I eventually go with the obvious choice. So after staying up later than I originally planned, I watched...
Green Room (2015). Netflix
A punk band has a bad gig where they each end up getting slightly less than 7-money apiece. The dude who hired them, feels bad about it so he sets them up with his cousin and another gig in the Pacific Northwest that pays decent money. Only drawback is that it’s a club run by neo-nazis with a like-minded clientele. The band starts off their set with the song, “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” by Dead Kennedys. They dodge beer bottles, spit and all kinds of mean looks but eventually win over the crowd with their next song. I’m not big into the punk rock life, but a mosh pit breaks out, so I think they crowd really started to really feel the band.
The set goes fine, but it turns to shit when one of the main characters, with the super bad ass name of Pat, goes back to get his friend’s phone in the green room. That’s when he comes across the headline band standing around the body of a girl with a knife in her head. Pat tries to call the police but gets caught, and his friends all get rounded up and forced back into the room. Naturally the club manager doesn’t want a dead girl in his club so he calls over the owner, and holy shit it’s Patrick Stewart! Seeing him play Captain Picard for so long, it’s extremely weird and off-putting seeing him play a racist skinhead, but my goodness is he great in this movie. I enjoy your raving lunatic bad guy as much as the next fellow, but baddies that are calm and in control are far scarier to me.
For much of this movie our protagonists are trapped in a small room while the skinheads are outside plotting how to kill them and set up the scene to make the kids’ deaths their own fault. Since a lot of it is planning leading to insane violence that’s usually over really quick, you need strong leads in the meantime. Everyone is really good. You have Anton Yelchin playing the dude with the super cool name, Alia Shawkat and of course Patrick Stewart. They keep everything super tense and uneasy that you’re not given a second to relax. The anticipation of knowing that any second the skinheads could bust down the door and murder them hangs over the movie like a dark cloud that hasn’t started raining.
I can’t say enough about Patrick Stewart in this role. He’s so terrifying, mainly because he views covering this thing up as a necessity and the right thing to do. The way he so casually explains how they’re going to make it look like the kids’ fault is legitimately chilling. He views the whole thing as a business move and these kids are just collateral damage. He doesn’t bat an eye at their deaths or delight in it, you get nothing from him except for worry that they’re running out of time. There’s a scene where the kids get the upper hand and one of them says, “This whole thing has been a nightmare.” and he responds with, “For us all.”
It sums up the character beautifully! Can you imagine the audacity of someone trying to compare what he through to those he spent the entire night murdering?! So good!
The movie does have its flaws though. For one, everyone in that bar is a raging nazi. And when I say “Nazi,” I don’t mean “Someone I disagree with politically” which is en vogue now-a-days. These people are just sick. It’s not a fun world to watch and thankfully you don’t get too much dialogue about it. Everyone is too focused on murdering these bands to start spouting Mein Kampf. Since we’re talking about it, because every baddie is white and has a shaved head, I couldn’t tell anyone apart. There’d be flashes of violence and I’d wonder, “Wait, didn’t they just kill that guy?” There’s another minor nit and it’s a really stupid decision made by the group but I’ll give it a slight pass. They’re young punk rockers trapped in a situation that they are NOT equipped for, so you’re going to make mistakes. But still, they make a HUGE and dumb mistake.
Those are my only complaints. I keep alluding to the violence and this movie has it in spades, but it’s different than what you normally see. The way it’s shot, the way people react, everything feels so... real. You watch a Friday the 13th movie and part of the fun is watching Pamela, Jason or Roy (ugh) cut people up in interesting and cartoonish ways. This one, just makes you uncomfortable because it’s so sudden and terrible. They’re just sneaking along and all of a sudden someone is horrifically murdered forcing the survivors into panic mode. The baddies know this building inside and out, so they’re just waiting for the bands to try and make their escape, so they can kill them. Some horror movies revel in the kills they show on screen, this one makes deaths felt by those watching.
It’s a gritty and dirty movie and I absolutely recommend it. You’re rooting for the characters, you want them to survive, you want the baddies to die and (at least I was) you’re a little disappointed one dude didn’t get the death he deserved. It did manage to break my heart when it comes to the doggie in the movie, which after what I just watched, I almost couldn’t handle it.
8.5 Dr. Chainsaws!
Green Room - Netflix
At the end of their low-budget tour, a punk band accepts a gig at an isolated rural club, only to discover that their hosts are neo-Nazis. Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat