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

Open Water 2: Adrift (2006) The original Open Water had no cause for a sequel, even one that gets no theatrical release. Of course, Adrift isn’t a sequel at all, but it’s more closely related to its predecessor than Halloween 3 is to Halloween 2. Obviously there was something to cash in on, given the moderate sucess of Open Water, which was a minimal story of a couple stranded in the sea after they were dumb enough to get left behind by a tourist boat. That couple is actually now looking like mathematicians compared to the six morons in this “based on true events” drama in the ocean, where the interest depends on how resourceful they can be to survive. There are damn good reasons to call them morons. And i’m not talking about any horror movie cliche like, “you stay here, i’ll check out that strange sound alone.” This is more like, “we are going on a yacht in the open sea, i have an issue with drowning, and i’m bringing our infant.” i can’t say i felt sorry for the mother when the “captain” of the yacht jumps in the ocean with her while forgetting to lower the ladder. Now, they and four friends are up shit’s creek bigtime. At first they worry about sharks and someone thinks they felt something tugging on them. Strangely enough, trouble with marine life never progresses. At the climax–while the baby is still “onboard”–the jerk that didn’t lower a ladder attempts something physically impossible: swimming down into the dark water looking for a knife they lost in the water. At nite, during a storm. There’s one more absolutely retarded action at the very end, taken on by the mother of the baby. Let’s just say that being adrift too long causes delirium. [rating: $2] –Kenyon

Grave Encounters (2011)

Grave Encounters (2011) The very promising trailer for Grave Encounters has a scene where a girl’s face instantly turns demonic. That alone is enough to reel someone in, hoping to see the next level in “these are the tapes we found” cinema. The premise of a ghost-hunting TV crew filming their experience in an old haunted asylum was off to an okay start, even though it blatantly rips off Paranormal State. The crew’s director is thinking money over ethics, so whatever trouble he gets into he deserves. They set up cameras–which later we see are too conveniently placed–in the asylum. They walk around, blah blah….obviously they are going to be attacked by evil spirits. About halfway in, the movie loses its direction. Along with the terrified characters.

The crew becomes trapped inside the mental hospital (because of a bizarre twist) and all the film cares about at this point is to have things jump out and scare you like it’s a Resident Evil video game. Worse is that with no explanation, it turns out that they are now in some sort of purgatory with the spirits/ghosts/whatever. There are also mad doctors there to operate on you, as they originally did to the patients when the asylum was open. One of the crew disappears and assumingly gets an “operation” off screen and then re-appears wearing a hospital gown and speaking incoherently. I mean COME ON. Where’d the gown come from? That’s when Grave Encounters jumps off a cliff. The surprise scares are jumpy, but without substance and reasoning, the believability goes out the window. The bogus rat near the end which is eaten for shock value couldn’t make the save. [rating: $2] -Kenyon

See No Evil (2006)

See No Evil (2006) Typical slash trash, but note that it “stars” Kane from WWE. In the weeks prior to its release, the WWE was promoting this and had Kane tie it in to the drama on the show. Everytime someone spoke the date of its release–Rey Mysterio got tricked into doing this–Kane would come out and go berzerk and beat down on whoever said it. The thing that stood out and sucked like a sore thumb was that the biggest jerk of the group of kids/victims was one of the survivors. Kane should have choke-slammed the shit of him. [rating: $2] –Kenyon

Spasms (1982)

Spasms (1982) A wealthy man is obsessed with resurrecting the spirit of a giant demon snake. It’s just something he has to do. Peter Fonda’s character and the man’s neice fail in following the creature, while studying the obsessed man’s telepathic connection he has with the snake. After biting people to death and causing spasms, the snake makes its way to the guy who has the supposed connection and the snake kills him, even though they had that telepathic connection. Bad snake, bad movie. [rating: $2] –Kenyon