Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Screenplay: Jeremy Saulnier
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner and Patrick Stewart
Country: United States
Running Time: 95 minutes
Year: 2015
BBFC Certificate: 18

Director Jeremy Saulnier’s debut feature, Murder Party operates as your standard low-budget horror fare, a single location horror comedy that didn’t set the world on fire. After following it up six years later with Blue Ruin, a critical and commercial success, Saulnier immediately began work on his most popular film to date, Green Room. Being an early title distributed in the United States by distribution darling A24, the film offered a great premise, a stacked cast and a straight to the point 95 minute runtime that pleased most who ended up seeing it. 

Despite not being a huge success at the box office, failing to break even on its $5 million budget, Green Room has stood the test of time with horror fans, so much so that British boutique distributor Second Sight Films have put together a limited edition, full of new interviews, video essays and commentaries in its UHD debut. The question is, how does the film hold up and is the release worth picking up?

Green Room follows punk band Ain’t Right, who are barely scraping by as they tour America, looking for gigs and preferring to keep an old-school approach to how they promote, with college radio shows and small gigs being their focus, instead of social media posts and digital publishing. After doing an unsuccessful gig, the host of a college radio show finds them a gig, thanks to his brother at a bar in Portland. You see, the issue arises when they realise they’re playing at a Neo-Nazi bar, populated with National Socialists, skinheads and other unfriendly faces. 

After riling the audience up by playing the classic Dead Kennedys track Nazi Punks Fuck Off, they witness a murder occur backstage and find themselves in the midst of a standoff against a group of racist Nazis. What a premise. The cast includes Anton Yelchin, who unfortunately passed away three months after the US release of the film, Joe Cole, Imogen Poots and most notoriously, Sir Patrick Stewart as the head of the Neo-Nazis, Darcy. 

I think the film’s decent, but unfortunately suffers on rewatches and given that this was my fourth time viewing the film, I didn’t love it quite as much as I did on my initial viewing, but it’s still a pretty good time. The performances are all relatively good, with Stewart being the highlight, giving a genuinely menacing performance that always impresses me each time I watch this. Saulnier’s direction is solid too, making use of the single location well enough, although I feel like a little more could have been done early on to keep the pace engaging. 

The film runs out of steam about midway through, which is a shame because the premise itself is really excellent. There’s some fairly gnarly violence, with one sequence involving a character’s arm standing out in particular. Definitely not a film for the squeamish, that’s for sure! 

While it’s still a pretty good film overall, Green Room didn’t blow me away quite like it did on my first viewing, which makes this a difficult film to score. On one hand, the initial viewing for this will likely win horror fans over, but it’s whether or not you find the film to have lasting impact enough that really depends on whether this release is worth picking up. Second Sight went all out with the extras, which I review below in more detail, so fans will definitely get their money’s worth there, but for newcomers to the film, maybe a rental or picking up the (still in print) Altitude Blu-ray, currently available for £5.99 on Amazon might be the more appealing decision.

Film:

Green Room releases on the 18th of March via Second Sight Films on Limited Edition UHD and Blu-ray, alongside standard UHD and Blu-ray releases. I viewed the UHD disc. On the video side, it looks good, if underwhelming. The transfer is an upscale and doesn’t contain the sharpness you’d expect from a native 4K transfer, although the Dolby Vision HDR helps a lot, given the mostly muted colour palette throughout the film. A lot of the film takes place in dark corridors and when it’s outside, it’s mostly during night time. I can’t say the UHD transfer was all too impressive and honestly, if 4K is looking a little too pricey, the Blu-ray should satisfy most people. Audio wise, it’s the same English DTS MA 5.1 track from the previous Altitude Blu-ray and it’s a solid track. Strangely, the old Altitude Blu-ray also included an English LPCM 2.0 stereo track, which isn’t present on this release. During the live music sequences, everything sounds fantastic and there’s no audio mixing issues to report. English subtitles are included too. The following extras are included: 

Dual format edition including both UHD and Blu-ray with main feature and bonus features on both discs

UHD presented in Dolby Vision HDR

New audio commentary by Reyna Cervantes and Prince Jackson

Audio commentary by Writer/Director Jeremy Saulnier

Going Hardcore: a new interview with Jeremy Saulnier

Punk Rock: a new interview with Actor Callum Turner

Rocking Out: a new interview with Composers Brooke & Will Blair

Going Green: a new interview with Production Designer Ryan Warren Smith

Nazi Punks F*ck Off: Thomas Caldwell on Green Room

Archive featurette: Into the Pit – Making Green Room

Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Adam Stothard

120-page book with new essays by Eugenio Ercolani and Gian Giacomo Petrone, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Josh Hurtado, Jolene Richardson, Shelagh Rowan-Legg and Thomas Watson

6 collectors’ art cards 

The brand new audio commentary with Reyna Cervantes and Prince Jackson (two writers for Bloody Disgusting) was recorded exclusively for this release and works well as a fan track, with the pair gushing about the film. Reyna’s past growing up in punk bands adds an interesting perspective to the track. Prince also touches on how his first experience watching the film was on his phone, but he quickly remedied that by watching it on a big screen as soon as he had the chance. It’s a good commentary track that fans of the film will have a blast with.

This archival audio commentary with writer/director Jeremy Saulnier is a fun, insightful listen into the production of the film, where he shares anecdotes about the shoot, claiming the first scene was the happiest day on set, how he was nervous after the success of his last feature, so immediately began work on this to prove he wasn’t a fraud and working with a legend like Patrick Stewart. It’s a great track that I highly recommend listening to. 

Going Hardcore is a brand new 32 minute interview with Jeremy Saulnier, exclusive to this release, where Saulnier talks about his career prior to Green Room, his feature debut Murder Party and the follow-up Blue Ruin, and the lessons he learned from those productions that he took into Green Room. He touches on writing the film on a plane and the production overall. It’s an in-depth interview that’s incredibly insightful and worth a watch.

Punk Rock is a brand new 16 minute interview with Callum Turner, exclusive to this release, who plays Tiger in the film and talks about his audition for the film, with it being the second feature film he starred in, and he’s a pleasure to listen to. He mentions getting the job due to an issue during the audition that Jeremy really loved. He also touches on the punk music he listened to, as per Jeremy’s request as well as recording certain sequences over 40 times to get it perfect. It’s a great interview that might be my favourite on the release. 

Rocking Out is a brand new 15 minute interview with the composers of Green Room, Brooke and Will Blair, exclusive to this release and the pair discuss growing up with director Jeremy Saulnier and working with him on his previous features Murder Party and Blue Ruin, before Green Room. It’s a fun, delightful interview that’s worth checking out.

Going Green is a brand new 15 minute interview with Ryan Warren Smith, the film’s production designer and it’s exclusive to this release. Smith discusses when he initially received the screenplay from the producers, as well as the experiences working with director Jeremy Saulnier. Smith’s interview is a good watch that I’d recommend.

Nazi Punks Fuck Off is a brand new 15 minute video essay by Thomas Caldwell on the film, discussing white supremacists in media, referencing Michael Mann’s Miami Vice (2006), Romper Stomper and This is England as examples prior to Green Room and it’s an interesting watch. Caldwell’s take is absolutely worth checking out. 

Into the Pit is an archival making-of featurette that runs for 10 minutes and contains a variety of talking heads interviews with Patrick Stewart, Jeremy Saulnier, Macon Blair, Imogen Poots, Anton Yelchin and others discussing the production, with some behind-the-scenes footage showcased throughout. While relatively short, it’s a good watch and nice to see this ported over from the old Altitude Blu-ray.

I wasn’t provided with the booklet, art cards or other limited edition goodies unfortunately, but I assume it’s up to the same high quality standards as past Second Sight limited editions.

Second Sight’s release of Green Room is a pretty mixed effort overall, with a serviceable transfer, great audio, fantastic extras but a film that’s bound to polarise audiences. It’s entirely dependent on the viewer as to whether the £40 limited edition is worth the money, or if the cheaper standard releases will suit them well. Recommended to hardcore fans of the film.

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Where to watch Green Room
Green Room - Second Sight Films
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Physical media collector with a questionable taste in film.

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