Punk rock’s not dead, but the young musicians who hope to revive the anarchic spirit of the 1970s, are an endangered species in Jeremy Saulnier’s horror thriller.
Set largely within the confines of a roadhouse in the backwoods of Oregon, Green Room pits four members of a punk band against a gang of Neo-Nazis, who unleash snarling pit bulls to rip out the throats of witnesses to their crimes.
Splashes of lurid crimson are plentiful in Saulnier’s script from the moment one loveable character’s wrist is taped back into place after a savage assault leaves the joint exposed as ragged flesh and bone.
Patrick Stewart relishes the opportunity to tap into the dark side of the human psyche as the film’s chief antagonist.
His accent might not be consistent, but the menace he exudes is, ordering the slaughter of innocent bystanders in order to protect his booted brotherhood from justice.
The four members of the Ain’t Rights - posturing lead singer Tiger (Callum Turner), bass player Pat (Anton Yelchin), drummer Reece (Joe Cole) and guitarist Sam (Alia Shawkat) - play a concert organised by blogger and fan Tad (David W Thompson).
Almost no one turns up, leaving the band out of pocket and low on petrol.
By way of an apology, Tad organises another gig for the band at a club where his brother Daniel (Mark Webber) works.
“Play your early stuff,” Tad advises Tiger and co before they head into the wilderness and prepare for a sound check at a rowdy social club managed by Gabe (Macon Blair).
The band antagonises the crowd by playing a cover version of a potty-mouthed 1981 Dead Kennedys hit, which results in a barrage of half-empty beer bottles.
As the Ain’t Rights make their exit, they stumble upon the dead body of a girl in the green room.
Gabe locks Tiger, Pat, Reece and Sam in the room with the dead girl’s friend Amber (Imogen Poots), while he summons club owner Darcy (Patrick Stewart) and his heavies to silence the witnesses with their arsenal of guns and knives.
Cranking up tension in a similar fashion to writer-director Saulnier’s previous feature, the revenge thriller Blue Ruin, Green Room is a brutal battle for survival that fully warrants the 18 certificate.
Make-up and prosthetics, courtesy of Jessica Needham and her team, achieve a level of stomach-churning realism, accompanied by squelching sound effects that conjure nightmarish images of horrors taking place off-screen.
Yelchin and his co-stars add flesh to the bones of their malnourished characters, especially London-born actress Poots, who is mesmerising as an unlikely angel of death caught in the midst of a bloodbath.
The grim resolution to hostilities fails to live up the nail-biting promise, but Saulnier doesn’t deviate from the relentlessly grim task at hand, tempering the carnage with mordant humour.