A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Green Room is an intensely violent thriller with horror elements that harkens back to the pulpy "grindhouse" days. There are grisly killings with knives, box cutters, machetes, guns, and killer dogs, accompanied by pooling, spurting blood. There's also lots of fighting, kicking, and gory wounds (one slashed-up arm is repaired with duct tape). Language includes many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and the "N" word, and there's a lot of violent, expletive-filled music. Characters drink in social situations, but sex isn't an issue. If teens know star Patrick Stewart from Star Trek: The Next Generation and the X-Men movies, they'll get a very different impression here. Still, while the material is extremely intense, this is also a very well-made movie with believable characters, and it's likely that it could become a word-of-mouth hit.
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What's the story?
Punk rock band The Ain't Rights -- bassist Pat (Anton Yelchin), guitarist Sam (Alia Shawkat), drummer Reece (Joe Cole), and singer Tiger (Callum Turner) -- are on tour, but they're not even scraping together enough money for gas. When a key gig falls through, a journalist gets them a replacement one playing a backwoods Portland club for white supremacists. After unwisely playing a Dead Kennedys cover song ("Nazi Punks F--- Off"), the band prepares to make a hasty exit ... when they become witnesses to a brutal murder in the green room. Trapped inside with a stranger (Imogen Poots) while the supremacists' sinister, calculating leader (Patrick Stewart) schemes, the bandmates must think on their feet in order to survive.
Is it any good?
Influenced by exploitation movies of the 1970s (and punk music of the 1980s), this horror-thriller is rooted in a gripping, grisly kind of realism without resorting to lazy coincidence or stupidity. Director Jeremy Saulnier previously made the similarly excellent Blue Ruin; here he continues honing his skills as a maker of exceptional genre movies that are both entertaining and involving. GREEN ROOM conjures up a vivid atmosphere, introducing characters that feel like they're living in it, rather than just performing in it.
These characters have history -- such as when one band member's wrestling skills come in handy -- and their decisions carry real weight. Saulnier's use of compressed time and space (the movie is set over one long day and mainly in one room) lend the story an air of urgency, while darkness and sounds (barking dogs) add to the unsettling soundtrack. The cast is outstanding, but it's Stewart who with this performance instantly becomes one of the screen's most haunting villains, spreading hatred with soft-spoken precision.
Talk to your kids about ...
Is the movie scary? How does something like this compare to a movie with more supernatural horrors?
How does it feel to see Patrick Stewart playing such a frightening, hateful villain?
For kids who love thrills and scares
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