For some reason I always feel like I have to justify my choice of movies I discuss on here, probably because I don’t review the latest releases, but rather whatever happens to catch my fancy or is recommended in some way or other. For instance, the other night I watched Glengarry Glen Ross, because I’d never seen it way back when it came out, and apparently Alec Baldwin’s monologue is supposed to be iconic. The cast looked promising, but I found the entire thing to be sort of a snoozefest. The dialogue wasn’t bad but the subject matter was so underwhelming I just didn’t care. The fact that it was shot like the play it’s based on didn’t help much either. Anyway, writing a post about a 20+ year old movie seems pretty pointless, but the more recent ones are fair game.
Which brings me to Green Room.
I hadn’t heard about this one when it came out, but it was featured on some YouTube movie list (it may have been ScreenRant or WhatCulture) and directed by the guy who made Blue Ruin, which wasn’t a bad movie at all. The plot seemed promising, albeit a bit bizarre, so I figured what the hell.
Well, let’s just say I was unimpressed. The movie wasn’t necessarily bad… it just didn’t live up to the expectation created by the plot summary or the trailer (yet another reason why I tend to avoid trailers).
Let’s take it from the top: the movie is supposed to be a horror flick about a punk rock band comprised of a group of friends, who play a gig at a neo-nazi bar and witness a murder. And then all hell breaks loose, as the club owner and his henchmen try to first contain, then murder the poor kids.
Perhaps the weirdest thing about the plot is the neo-nazi angle. It literally serves no purpose. Nothing about what drives the bad guys is remotely connected to their skinhead status, aside from the fact that neo-nazis and murdering assholes are pretty awful people. The club could have been a dive or a titty bar and it would have made no difference whatsoever. I guess there’s some validity to the nazi theme in terms of it requiring a remote location, but hell, even 90’s rave parties were held in the middle of nowhere, and of course let’s not forget the From Dusk Till Dawn Titty Twister bar, also in the middle of nowhere. Oh well.
The second bizarre point is the casting choices. Nothing against Anton Yelchin, God rest his soul, or Imogen Poots, although if I were her I would have refused a part in the movie solely based on the hideous haircut.
Also a wtf casting option: Maeby as a punk rocker. I rest my case.
But my gripe is with Patrick Stewart being cast as the bad guy.
I simply don’t buy it. Apparently he read the script and was horrified, which led him to jump at the chance to play this role, but I’ll just call it a lapse in judgment and leave it at that. The fact that he’s a good actor doesn’t mean he can get away with playing an American evil druglord-slash-murdering-club owner. Oh yeah, the club is basically a front for his drug empire, which would have made sense had it been crucial to the plot, but it’s just not. The fact that there’s, oh, I don’t know, a dead body in the green room, is reason enough for the bad guys to want to keep it hush-hush. It seems like the only point of this discovery in the basement was to find a roll of duct tape (and let’s face it, it could have been placed anywhere in the green room), which they used to close up a few wounds. And whaddayaknow, it works wonders on cuts, breaks and bullet wounds!
Like any self-respecting horror movie, you get a couple of pointless details throughout the film which get callbacks at certain moments. Not because they’re essential to the plot – I think we’ve established by now that there’s no such thing in this movie – but because, well, they all do it, so Green Room should too. This ultimately makes the movie feel a little pretentious, which wouldn’t ordinarily bother me; I’m okay with the ridiculousness that comes with horror flicks, except this one never really felt like a true-blue horror movie to being with. Again, this wouldn’t be such an issue – I mean it DOES feature the common trope of having the heroes killed off one by one…. except it’s supposed to be terrifying. And either the script or the actors don’t really sell the horror enough.
So yeah, the running themes: in the beginning of the movie the band plays a gig that pays peanuts, so the guy who booked them makes amends by sending them to that club where his cousin works (gee, thanks for that). He conducts a mini interview before the gig, and asks them what their “desert island band” would be. Most of them come up with an answer except for one. And at the end of the movie we come full circle, and he figures out what his desert island band is. Like we give a crap, after all the violence and death (which is pretty much what the other survivor tells him, and then it cuts to the end credits). How original! Can I get an eyeroll?
Wait, there’s a bigger eyeroll moment coming up: amidst all the chaos and murder, the remaining heroes do find the time to have a quiet discussion, because of course. And Yelchin tells Poots (I don’t think I ever got the names of the protagonists straight, let alone the villains – and there was a lot of them, and they all looked kinda similar, which was even more confusing) about this paintball game where a member of the losing team somehow turned it around to his advantage, even though the winning team was made up of these super skilled war veterans (because hey, let’s piss off soldiers by equating their battle skills with those evil nazi bastards). Cut to a few minutes later, and he’s shaved his head, they’ve both put on war paint, because apparently that helps kill the bad guys, and they apply whatever stupid strategy the winning side of the paintball game followed. Why is this relevant to anything? Why the face paint? Just… why?
I feel like I’m not doing the movie justice, because there WERE a few good elements to it. A couple of grisly deaths, a few moments of tension…. In the end it never really felt believable or even really suspenseful, but here’s one last gripe: a couple of people get torn to shreds by trained Rottweilers. For me, those were the only disturbing scenes – not so much because of the blood and gore, but because it’s bonehead moves like these that make people believe certain animals are evil and should be put down. Besides, a couple of months ago we relished at Ramsay getting mauled by his hounds in Battle Of The Bastards, and this scene was nowhere near as powerful as that one.
To wrap this up: was this a fantastic movie, worth the high rotten tomatoes rating? For me, not so much. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great either. Just meh, I guess.