In this week’s ‘Best of the BFI Player’, we focus on Green Room – the hard hitting thriller that will really get under your skin.
The scariest thing about this film is not the fact I know kids in bands that play random places, or the blood and gore, its that this could really happen. Centering around a young punk band who end up playing at a Neo Nazi bar just to make petrol money, this is a film not for the faint hearted.
This is easily my film of the year, and unless someone delivers something mindblowing, will definitely appear in my top films of the decade. Brutal and anxiety ridden from start to finish, you feel like you are with the characters, trapped in that very same room. Of course, the late Anton Yelchin leads the film with a perfect balance of naivety and frenzy, which is matched by the angry detachment of Imogen Poots – a pairing which I am so glad they didn’t force to be a romantic one. Nothing ruins a horror more than people falling in love – ew. Patrick Stewart appears as the boss of the Neo Nazis, whose only concern is business and time, and who chillingly never blinks an eye as the members of his red laced army get picked off one by one.
Directed and written by Jeremy Saulnier, you’d expect nothing less than to be disturbed by what comes from the mind of the person who created Blue Ruin, but Green Room exceeds that by a mile. Right wing gigs like this don’t happen in the UK anymore (as far as I’m aware), and going into the film I assumed it was set in the 80/90s American hardcore scene, in which the white power movement occasionally appeared (to much distaste, I might add) . However, upon the realisation that the film is set in the present day, thats when the true horror set in. You only have to look to the news to see that there is a huge race issue in America – the fact that Trump is even getting a whiff of becoming the POTUS is enough to prove that (written before election day). And whilst race is not an issue within the film at all (in fact all the actors are white or white passing), it shows the mindless and irrational violence that goes hand in hand with these extremist movements, which in our current culture are growing larger and larger every day.
After watching Green Room I googled the meaning of ‘Red Laces’, and found myself on a White Pride forum, in which people spoke openly of their hatred towards people of colour, those in the LGBTQIA community, and of their disgust at towards caucasians who associated with those who they deem to be animals. The fact that this mindset exists in such extremity, in seemingly developed countries which pride themselves on freedom and acceptance, is a very real source of fear for many.
This is not just a horror film about a punk show gone wrong, but a horror about America.
You can watch Green Room now by heading over to the BFI website now.