“Green Room” is a new independent film being marketed as a horror thriller: Down on their luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights are finishing up a long and unsuccessful tour, and are about to call it quits when they get an unexpected booking at an isolated, run-down club deep in the backwoods of Oregon. What seems merely to be a third-rate gig escalates into something much more sinister when they witness an act of violence backstage that they weren’t meant to see. Now trapped backstage, they must face off against the club’s depraved owner, Darcy Banker, a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his nefarious enterprise. But while Darcy and his henchmen think the band will be easy to get rid of, The Ain’t Rights prove themselves much more cunning and capable than anyone expected, turning the tables on their unsuspecting captors and setting the stage for the ultimate life-or-death showdown. The film stars Patrick Stewart (“X-Men, “Star Trek: the next generation”), Anton Yelchin (“Star Trek,” “Terminator: Salvation”), Imogen Poots (“Fright Night,” “28 Weeks Later”), and Alia Shawkat (“Arrested Development”).
However, a more definitive way of thinking of “Green Room” would be as a “survive the night” film, which is a subcategory to the subgenre in other films “survival.” It boils down to the hook that the characters in a “survival” type film must do exactly what it sounds like: Survive. What differentiates a “survive the night” movie from a plain “survival” is the time frame of the story. In a “survive the night” piece, the protagonists have to live through a single evening to make it out alive. This scenario is probably most commonly recognized in films like “From Dusk til Dawn,” and “the Warriors.” In the former, two criminals and their hostages, who unknowingly choose a vampire nest to lay low in, have to fight off a small army of monstrous bloodsuckers until the sun comes up; in the latter, a street gang is framed for the assassination a gang lord, and have to cross through other gangs’ turf to make it safely back to their own. “Survive the night” seems to be a more subtle movement for film, but it has been showing up for decades.
“Green Room” is the new movie by American Writer and Director Jeremy Saulnier. Saulnier is best known in the cinematic circles for his film “Blue Ruin.” Still considered by many to be an up and coming filmmaker – although “Green Room” is only his third production in nine years – Jeremy Saulnier’s work has been described be several writers and reporters as strangely engaging. His vision seems to naturally dive into the gritty and frightening subcutaneous levels of otherwise seemingly mundane situations. Ultimately, his movies are not for the squeamish or the easily frightened; Saulnier’s movies are intense, gritty, and relentless.
“Green Room” will have its first Chicago showing this Thursday and the Music Box Theatre on Southport, and will continue to show there following through the next week.