Screams on Screen: Green Room (2015)

Shock value and gore aren't enough to save us from this neo-Nazi bore fest

Elizabeth Meade
12th March 2021
Image: IMDb
Green Room (2015), a slasher horror-thriller about a band held hostage by rural punks with fascist affiliations, is undeniably one of the more gruesome slasher films available on Netflix. Earning its 18 rating (R in the US), the film left me feeling not only unsettled, but rather bored with the lack of creative risks taken.

Although the effects are realistic and the suspense can hold an audience's attention for the film's 1 hour, 35 minute duration, the promising-concept-with-no-pay-off made the plot feel like a disappointment - and not just because I initially confused the setting and concept with that of Lords of Chaos (2018) prior to viewing.

The plot starts with a band getting a last-minute gig at a club in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest after their first show is cancelled, only to realize that the venue is operated by neo-Nazis and attended by fans of National Socialist Black Metal. When the band returns to the green room after the show, they find a few young fascists have killed one of their own, who was questioning the group's morals.

Image: IMDb

Upon attempting to leave and call the police, the bar's owners confine the band in the green room with the goal of killing them to cover up the murder. Naturally, this leads to a harrowing quest for survival, involving lots of blood, guns, dogs and box cutters.

While fans of Star Trek actors Patrick Stewart and the late Anton Yelchin may be interested in viewing their performances as the main villain and the protagonist respectively, the cast doesn't have much to work with and hence the acting is difficult to judge. Despite the clear presence of fascists as villains, the film doesn't portray far-right ideologies as much of a horror beyond their violent attempt to cover up a crime committed by one of their own.

nothing really innovative or ground-breaking in terms of scares, plotting or atmosphere really takes place

The main characters don't have many qualms about the audience for which they are playing until they see the murder, and when they play an anti-Nazi song to rile up the crowd very little actually comes of it, which doesn't seem realistic on either count. The protagonists have little personality for the audience to care about and the antagonists are boring as well, essentially just trying to kill them the whole time.

Although that's typical of the slasher genre, I feel as if the setup for this film could have actually said something, but missed the opportunity to do so. Even when viewed as a work of pure shock value and violence, nothing really innovative or ground-breaking in terms of scares, plotting or atmosphere really takes place: the people-escaping-from-a-room concept isn't that new.

Green Room is an alright film if you want something a little different from a film that's nearly all violence, but don't expect any great thematic exploration or unexpected shocks.

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AUTHOR: Elizabeth Meade
(she/her) Head of Current Affairs (News, Campus Comment, Comment, Science). Chemistry major. Avid reader. Chaos theorist. Amateur batrachologist and historian. Rock fan. Likes cybersecurity and cooking. Wrote the first article for Puzzles. Probably the first Courier writer to have work featured in one of Justin Whang's videos.

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