With October quickly approaching, it’s time to take a step back from summer’s Hollywood blockbusters and explore up-and-coming horror specialist Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room. Saulnier lured established actors Patrick Stewart and Anton Yelchin to the set after the success of his critically acclaimed film Blue Ruin released in 2013. This film follows the young punk band The Ain’t Rights as they tour through the Pacific Northwest. Surviving off beans and rice and siphoning strangers gas tanks, the band decides to cut their tour short, but not before playing one last gig in the remote woods of Oregon. It quickly becomes clear that the venue is a neo-Nazi skinhead bar where swastika tattoos and doc marten boots are so prevalent, you would think they were a requirement. The band plays a successful set to the bottle smashing, beer spewing crowd of rowdy punks. Saulnier slows these scenes in a way that makes the visuals of chaotic destruction appear coordinated and graceful. The peace has been restored and the band gets ready for their departure. As Pat (Yelchin) heads back to their dressing room to collect his charging phone he walks in a group of skinheads circling the lifeless body of a young girl with a knife sticking out her temple.
Having discovered a murder they were never meant to see, the band is ushered into the back room as they negotiate their release with the club owner (Stewart). As time goes on, it becomes clear that there will be no peaceful departure and the band must fight for their escape. What escalates this horror film beyond your typical slasher film is the idea that this could happen to anyone. Well, anyone surrounded by a gang of skinheads in Oregon. What I mean is Saulnier blends the brutal reality of gang violence and culture with the dubious blood and guts horror we have grown to love. This is the type of film that makes you scared to root for anyone because they may not be on the screen for much longer.