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'Green Room' unsettles with its evil brand of action

This graphic thriller avoids predictable pitfalls of the genre, making it one very scary flick.

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  • | 1:10 p.m. May 1, 2016
Crime thriller 'Green Room' features an evil menace that will make you want to lock the doors.
Crime thriller 'Green Room' features an evil menace that will make you want to lock the doors.
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Patrick Stewart will make your spine tingle in the new film, "Green Room." As a methodical, maniacal neo-nazi, Stewart, against type, elevates this graphic horror film to excellence.

A punk rock quartet (Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole and Callum Turner) find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time when they accept a much needed gig at a skinhead roadhouse. When one member of the band returns to the green room after the concert to retrieve a phone, he's witness to a brutal murder. When the others come looking for him, they're forced to lock themselves in with the corpse, her friend (Imogen Poots) and a very nasty neo. The standoff begins as the body count rises.

When the skinhead's leader, Darcy Banker (Stewart), calmly states beyond the locked door, "We're not keeping're just staying," we get a sense of his cool, calculating evil. He orders gruesome murders as though he's reciting poetry. His mere presence is unnerving. His words are his weapon and like Charles Manson, he never has to lift a finger.

Director Jeremy Saulnier ("Blue Ruin") sophisticates horror in "Green Room." His characters don't do stupid things as in most films of the genre. And his cast is up to the task of making it real, including one very bad dog. The script is smart and the camerawork is spot on. Slow-motion shots and the disturbing physicality of what he shoots intensify what's playing out. You find yourself caught up in the action and there's no escape.

Stewart admits that when he read the script for "Green Room," it was so terrifying that he locked the house, turned on the security system and poured himself a scotch. Upon returning home, I did the same.


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