‘Green Room’ (2015): A Frightening Horror Movie Where the ‘Monsters’ Are Human

What would you do if you found yourself trapped in a nightmare scenario?

Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots in Green Room (2015).

Released by A24, Green Room (2015) is an excellent example of a horror movie that doesn’t require jump scares, supernatural villains, or even a hulking slasher killer like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. The premise is simple: A degenerate punk band called the Ain’t Rights travels the country in a van with next to no money playing gigs, drinking and siphoning gas along the way. Out of money, the band agrees to play a show arranged for them by a local radio host in Portland, even though upon arrival they realize they will be playing for an audience of neo-Nazi skinheads.

In addition to being gory and bleak, Green Room also manages to have several visually beautiful moments.

After the set, the band is leaving the bar when Pat doubles back to the green room to retrieve his bandmates’ cellphone. He is shocked to discover the members of the headlining band surrounding a young woman who has been stabbed to death. In the ensuing chaos, the members of the Ain’t Rights and the dead woman’s friend are locked in the green room as the lead skinhead (Patrick Stewart) decides that all of them must die to prevent witnesses from connecting them to the murder. The rest of the film plays out as the skinheads are intent on killing the band and the band tries to escape the green room alive.

When the credits rolled, I had to consciously unclench every single part of my body.

Petr Knava, ‘Green Room’ Is Undoubtedly One of the Best, Most Relevant Films of the 21st Century

Green Room drops us into a fascinating subculture and surrounds a compelling story with an all-star cast of Patrick Stewart, the late great Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, and Imogen Poots. This movie is tense and though the characters are smart, every 10 minutes something even more disastrous happens to them. Here are the most interesting fun facts about Green Room:

  1. Patrick Stewart wanted to play the leader of the skinheads because the script terrified him so much that after reading it, he locked his doors and turned on his security system.
Sir Patrick Stewart plays against type as the leader of a group of violent neo-Nazi skinheads.

Seeing Stewart as such a reprehensible figure is initially jarring. It’s almost surreal to hear Stewart ramble off crude, xenophobic remarks. However, bringing in Stewart for Green Room was more than just stunt casting. It was a brilliant decision by Saulnier that added to the sense of anxiety that the film is so good at maintaining

Liam Gaughan, Patrick Stewart’s ‘Green Room’ Villain Shows the Actor Turning Warmness Into Menace

2. Jeremy Saulnier played in a punk band called No Turn on Fred when he was younger and had been “obsessed” with making a horror movie that takes place in a green room for years.

3. Anton Yelchin and Alia Shawkat already knew how to play their instruments, and Joe Cole learned for the film. You’re really hearing the actors perform (rather than simply dubbing the scenes with actual musicians) when the Ain’t Rights play.

Anton Yelchin was born in the Soviet Union, and his parents were Russian Jews.

4. The real jargon of “red shoelaces” is used to indicate skinheads who have murdered for their cause.

5. This was the last of Anton Yelchin’s films to be released while he was alive.

6. Director Jeremy Saulnier focused on Patrick Stewart’s voice early in the film because he wanted to establish the character before focusing visually on the recognizable actor.

7. This is the second of Saulnier’s films to have a color in the title, after Blue Ruin (2013).

The band realizes they are trapped.

8. The band was envisioned as all male, but the director liked Alia Shawkat so much that she was cast as “Sam.” Shawkat also played a punk musician in  The Runaways (2010).

9. The first and last word uttered in Green Room is “shit.”

10. Eric Edelstein was cast as Big Justin based on his IMDb photo.

11. The home-invasion vibes of Green Room are probably due to Saulnier using Straw Dogs (1971) as an inspiration.

The actual green room was a soundstage.

12. Artists refused to give Macon Blair temporary Nazi tattoos until he was able to prove he was auditioning for the film.

13. During the radio interview at the beginning of the film, Tiger mentions he doesn’t expect to live to seventy.

14. A dog puppet was built for the film, but they ended up being able to safely use real dogs for almost all of the dog scenes and the puppets are barely seen on screen.

15. The film’s poster is meant to play homage to punk band The Clash’s London Calling cover.

Meet The Author

Chrissy is the co-founder of Creepy Catalog. She has over 10 years of experience writing about horror, a degree in philosophy and Reiki level II certification.

Chrissy Stockton