Sunday, October 23, 2016

31 Days of Halloween 2016: Green Room

2015, Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) -- download


This is definitely not a straight up horror movie in the thinnest attempts of stretching the idea, but I haven't been so stressed out about a movie situation in decades. This movie had me jumping from one edge of the sofa to the next, just on edge, my nerves on fire. If you want to feel really uneasy, see this movie.

There is something about supernatural horror or even psychological horror that allows you to remain separated from it. Its not real and you know that, and you can observe it from afar. But this is a movie about real evil, not the abstract kind but the very real kind you can encounter in the street. The monster at the centre of this movie is the white supremacist -- a word, I just learned how to spell/pronounce properly today.

A low key, nobody punk band on the west coast is having a rather unsuccessful tour. They steal food, they siphon gas, they sofa surf and they sleep in their van. When they are offered a small, short gig at a "boots n braces" event, for guaranteed money, they don't say no. They can do punk even if they don't like the audience. And they do, pulling off a short show in the woods in a compound which immediately screams "know your exits !!" But then one goes back to grab his phone and sees a murder.

This starts a tense, nail biting roller coaster of survival. They know they are fucked, but are just not sure how to move forward. The supremacists have them locked in the green room, negotiating with them in bad faith through the door. "Just give us the gun and you can go, " says Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) in an utterly chilling roll as the leader, the guy who sees this as being as much about the crime business they run as the movement he leads. He has no intention on letting them go; they know it, he knows it but the charade has to be played out. Afterall, they're not monsters, right? Fucking right they are monsters -- very real, very tangible monsters whose whole belief system is at odds with the kids.

Like my mother was most disturbed by religious horror movies, because of her faith, I am entirely disturbed by fanatics, American fanatics. All you have to do is pay attention to the behaviour going on in the US right now as the election progresses (despite the date, the Americans are voting today) to know that evil is very real. And very scary. And can have an impact on your life. It doesn't matter if you are the subject of their hatred, they are just bad people and will do bad things to you if you get in their way.

The movie does not end well. Some of the kids survive but it is not a happy ending. It is depressing and disheartening, even to the point of leaving some of the more moderate skinheads completely drained by what has happened. Some people hate, some people fear but not even all of them are comfortable with utter evil. And I do believe that kind of hate is utterly evil.

P.S. This is going to be one of the last movies I will see Anton Yelchin in, and I honestly will miss him. I like him in his varied, differing roles. He was proving to be someone who was going to have a very interesting career ahead of him.  Fuck you death.