Green Room (2016) Review

green room

The Ain’t Rights, the band that “stars” in Green Room, has been struggling to receive enough money for food and gas. At the film’s opener, they are in their tour van which turned off the road into a corn field. After a connection leads them to the middle of nowhere, Oregon, the band awkwardly finds themselves on stage at a neo-Nazi compound. Being the punks that they are, and since one of the band members is already wearing a shirt representing the Dead Kennedys (a cornerstone of punk), the band decides at the last minute to start the set with a song by the Dead Kennedys titled “Nazi punks f*ck off.” They do this in spite of already knowing they are in a room filled with belligerent Nazi punks, in the middle of nowhere, Oregon. Bottles are thrown on stage, but luckily it’s a short song and apparently these neo-Nazis have a short memory because the minute the next song starts they are all dancing. It seems that all is forgiven.

It’s just after this clumsy scene that Green Room loses its way in becoming a suspenseful horror film. Really, this actually isn’t even horror. This is a drama-thriller with some minor gore. Throughout the “suspense” of the dull, chatty-filled last 45 minutes, dogs chew up people, an arm is slashed (off screen, though we see the results), gun shots are fired and someone for no reason at all slices a guy’s abdomen while he’s in a sleeper hold, about to pass out (when he’s not held in an arm lock to show off some wrestling skills, that is). Not that any of the gore is very convincing or is delivered with finesse.

Just when they were ready to leave the venue, the Ain’t Rights stumble upon a murder in the “green” room (where the band hangs out before going on stage). A girl is laying dead on the floor, knife in the side of her head, blood spilling on floor. Why that method of killing is chosen is just ridiculous. Now, the group is held hostage by people who are attempting to cover up the murder and presumably hide other crimes of the past.

Eventually the protagonists make their way through some floor boards and into a basement where there could have been something down there to help them escape, fight back, or blow up the place. But alas, there’s nothing down there. Complete waste of time for the movie. But at least they got out of the green room for a few minutes, right? Problem is, there are never any interesting ideas for fighting back. Maybe that makes things more realistic, but certainly does not make for an exciting film.

Meanwhile, we wait for some kind of larger revelation of crime the villains are hiding. Or even why a knife was put into a girl’s head. Some or all of this might have been mumbled along the way. But the dialogue is so muddled that it’s difficult to follow. This can partially be blamed on the performance by Patrick Stewart, who completely lacks personality here. Wait, what!? Yes, Patrick Stewart is here to manage the dozens of inconsistent, uninteresting characters who either disappear, have a sudden change of heart or follow orders to finish this monotonous, never-ending job.

Had there been more focus, more cunning ideas of survival tactics and less characters of which to keep track, then Green Room might have pulled off something special. Instead, it only seems to battle itself with wasted scenes and tedious dialogue, of which there is a staggering amount.

Before the melee, we get to know the characters partially via a cliche interview. [Not verbatim] Why no social media? “It’s about the moment of playing the music.” Desert island band? “Black Sabbath. No no, wait, Misfits.” Something like that. But it doesn’t really matter. Oh wait. It’s referenced at the very end of the movie. One of the two surviving characters asks the other, who wasn’t even present at that interview, if she wants to know his desert island band (why?). “Ask someone who gives a shit,” is her deflated response. Scene ends, movie over. Not clever. [rating: $2] –Kenyon

Hostel III (2011)

There were some great ideas in Hostel III. If only they were executed more professionally. And if only this whole thing wasn’t so dopey. It was foretold on the dvd cover. People are going to be tortured by wannabe doctors in Las Vegas. Hey it’s not all bad. There are some twists and a few actually work. Perhaps the biggest twist is actually the most obvious, and its seed is planted the minute the main characters establish their relationships in the most boring way possible. Even though the victims are impossibly clueless and the artistic gore doesn’t match anywhere near its predecessors, Hostel III is still a fun time. [rating: $5] –Kenyon

sounds better dubbed in German

Evil Dead (2013)

Less a remake and more a re-imagined update, this Evil Dead has a refreshingly serious tone that was lacking in last year’s anticipated Cabin in the Woods. It’s even more serious than the initial Dead film. The latest is dark and dismal. In fact, the character who is most sensitive to the evil lurking in the woods is dealing with hardcore drug withdrawal. Things just got real. Add to that genuine scares, gobs of gore and mutilation and we got a genuine horror movie with a little heart and soul, minus a few small cliches. [rating: $8] –Kenyon

The Crazies (2010)

After an infected corpse just happens to parachute into a marsh and small town’s water source, the U.S military seizes the population of Ogden, Iowa. Unfortunately for them, the quarantine system fails and everything goes straight to hell.

Impossible timing in the Crazies is a rule. For example, the deputy shoots through a second story window to stop an “infected” from killing his friend without a second more to loose. There is a little melodrama, and a little is too much for this remake of the 1973 film from George Romero. This version should have spent more time on the aspects of the virus itself and less on whether or not the lead female is pregnant. So therefore i cannot comprehend why this got so many positive reviews. On the bright side, the Crazies is convincingly gruesome, like when the hero gets a knife through his hand and while still stuck in hand puts it into an infected’s neck. You know it! [rating:$6]

The Woman in Black (2012)

The Woman in Black(2012) Lead character Arthur Kipps has got some balls. Even more so, some GUTS. He sticks around a remote U.K village in the early 1900s to investigate why young kids keep dying. This culminates with submerging himself into quicksand-like mud to recover a body that must be re-united with the body of the corpse’s mother. Eureka! He mainly does this because he’s afraid that when his own son arrives to the village, his son will meet the same fate as previous children. Yea, well, too bad these kids are easily hypnotized by the “woman in black.”

The film delivers its story, scares and climax overly cautious, going nowhere outside the mystery-suspense-ghost story box. Woman provides rich cinematography, but settles on the expected. That’s probably because it would rather pander to the general audience. The result is a snug mixture of the Others (for time period and ghost and big old house), House of the Devil (for the single person wandering around a secluded shadowy big house) and the Orphanage (for the typical ghosts of children helping you solve the mystery of who murdered them or whatever). Whatever INDEED! Good day sir……i said good DAY! [rating: $5] – Kenyon