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TIFF Report: Green Room

Who’s in it: Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots

Who’s behind it: Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier, the filmmaker behind Murder Party and Blue Ruin.

Who’ll love it: More like who wouldn’t love this movie!

What it’s about: You know that thing where you go on tour with your band thinking a that a cross country road trip won’t wear on your friendships or your decades-old van? And then, out of desperation and a lack of gas money you agree to play a sketchy show only to find out that your audience are a bunch of backwoods white supremacists who can’t even get your band’s name right? No? Well, consider yourself lucky because as bad as that already sounds, things get a lot worse for punk rockers The Ain’t Rights when they see something they shouldn’t and their solemn promises to like, totally never tell anyone, like ever fail to reassure their skinhead hosts.

What the filmmakers say about it: “Holy shit, we have to do another movie quick before they find out who we are.” — Saulnier on the success he’s achieved with fans and critics so far.

What the film’s stars have to say about it: “These are the only kinds of movies I wanted to see when I was a kid… Suddenly I have one in my hand.”—Patrick Stewart on reading Saulnier’s script for the first time.

The band whose records each cast member would want to have on a desert island: Near the start of the movie, a college radio show host asks The Ain’t Rights which band’s music they’d want to have with them if they were marooned on an island. You’ll have to watch to find out how this running gag plays out but we’ve got the actors’ answers for you right here. Imogen Poots would console herself with The Smiths angsty discography while Alia Shawkat would want the soothing sounds of Nat King Cole. Anton Yelchin’s choice was Ray Charles and Patrick Stewart drew huge applause when he said he’d want the collected works of Randy Newman. Who knew Newman had so many fans among the Midnight Madness crowd?

Why you should see it: When Saulnier’s crowd-funded, FIPRESCI-winning Blue Ruin debuted at Cannes, critics called the revenge thriller smart, atmospheric, and unpredictable. With Green Room the director delivers more of the same, only funnier. Simultaneously a siege movie, a splatter movie, and a revenge flick, Green Room delivers as many laughs as it does full-body cringes. With a robust vein of gallows humour running through it, the film keeps the jokes coming even as the corpses pile up. Poots, especially, stands out for her deadpan quipping (not to mention her “I can’t decide whether or not to grow out this Chelsea” haircut). Have a friend who doesn’t like horror movies? Take them to this. Tell them it’s a comedy (just cover their eyes when the dogs make their entrance) and you might convert them.

When you can see it: Green Room was the Midnight Madness program opener. Catch it again Saturday September 12 at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Green Room is preceded by Davy Force and Nick DenBoer’s The Chickening (director interview here!), a short you’ll want simultaneously want to watch over and over and never again.

Watch the trailer here, and check out Patrick Stewart and his band of not-so-merry neo-Nazis below: