The young adult, east coast, punk band ‘The Ain’t Rights’ are struggling for money. Things are so bad, financially speaking, that they all share the same cell phone, sleep in their tour van to avoid paying for motel rooms, and steal the gasoline they need by siphoning it from other cars. The quartet consists of Pat (Anton Yelchin), Reece (Joe Cole), Sam (Alia Shawkat), and Tiger (Callum Turner).
The band’s most recent gig in the outskirts of Portland, Oregon doesn’t go well, in terms of audience or the money they make for the job; a paltry six dollars and change for each of them. Tad (David W. Thompson), the person who arranged the job for them, feels bad about how it went, so he lines up another paying performance for them; one in which the money will be worth their time. The catch is, the band will be playing at a club, located deep in the woods of rural Oregon, where white supremacists socialize. In desperate need of a way to get back home, and wanting to avoid being arrested by continuing to steal other motorists’ gas, they agree to play the show.
The band plays the gig, collects the money that’s owed to them, and are all set to leave, when Sam realizes she left her cell phone charging in the green room. Pat goes back to the room to retrieve it, but instead of merely walking into the room and getting the phone, he comes upon a murder scene, where a young girl has been killed. Without hesitation, he calls 9-1-1 on the cell, only to have the phone taken away from him by the club’s manager, Gabe (Macon Blair). Gabe is heard to say to the operator that there has been a stabbing at the club. The band is told to wait in the green room until the police arrive.
After hanging up with the police, Gabe alerts the main antagonist of the film, club owner, Darcy, about what happened. Darcy is portrayed in a convincing and calculated manner by multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominee, Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation). Darcy projects a calm demeanor as he communicates with the members of the band through the closed door to the green room, but he has already begun to formulate a plan on how to dispose of them. The police will in fact arrive, but they are easily fooled by two skinheads, who act as if things got out of hand between them while arguing, which led to one stabbing the other.
Before exiting the green room, Gabe leaves Justin (Eric Edelstein), a club bouncer, who has a loaded gun, to watch over the group. Additionally, Amber (Imogen Poots), a friend of the murdered girl is held captive in the room. It doesn’t take long for The Ain’t Rights’ to realize two things: One, the police would’ve shown up already if they were coming. Two, they aren’t being kept inside the green room for their safety.
Communicating through the green room door with Darcy, the band tries to talk their way out of their predicament, but it soon becomes apparent that they will have to fight their way out, in order to make it back to the safety of rational minded society. Amber, who has remained relatively calm throughout the ordeal, realizes she too must fight alongside the punk rockers if she is to have any hope of surviving. One particularly unnerving scene where she uses a box cutter demonstrates just how far she is willing to go to earn her freedom.
Do any of the band members, as well as Amber, survive or is Stewart’s character Darcy too much of a match for them? What means will Darcy, and his followers, utilize in an attempt to make sure there are no witnesses left to testify about the murder? What plan do ‘The Ain’t Rights’ and Amber concoct to escape their imprisonment? All of those questions and more will be answered by the completion of the film.
The tension filled, viscerally thrilling, and unsettling ” Green Room” was written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin). The 95 minute movie premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2015. The film is a blending of the crime – horror – and thriller genres. Credit must be given to Cinematographer, Sean Porter (Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter), for the way he captures the settings, especially the claustrophobic green room, which helps to heighten the feelings of desperation that the main protagonists are enduring. Furthermore, the soundtrack provided by Brooke and Will Blair (Murder Party) helps to advance the narrative by building the right amount of dread throughout the film. “Green Room” contains gore, but it is germane to what is transpiring on screen, and not added just for the sake of having extreme scenes. Saulnier’s movie will not be for everyone, but should be a more than satisfying cinematic experience for viewers who have a bit of background before watching the movie, and have an idea of what to expect.