Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier, whose previous two films I recently reviewed, has quickly become one of my favorite directors working today. I found his first film, Murder Party, to be a fun little horror-comedy piece that’s worth the watch, although maybe not the most memorable film I’ve seen recently. His follow-up, Blue Ruin, saw Saulnier making a foray into the revenge genre, and it’s a film I’ve gone as far as to declare a “modern American masterpiece.” Saulnier continues his hot streak by returning to the horror genre, but this time with the brutal, fast-paced, punk rock horror-thriller Green Room.
Green Room is a film that will leave you feeling dirty, exhausted, and ultimately satisfied. It’s a grimy film filled with vile characters, and it feels most comfortable when displaying scenes of maiming and mutilation. It’s also an absolute blast to sit through as you excitedly watch a hardcore punk band attempt to barely scrape by with their lives as they fight dozens of murderous neo-Nazis.
Last week, I reviewed Murder Party, director Jeremy Saulnier’s debut feature from 2007. I found it to be a funny, unique little horror film, and especially impressive when stacked up against its minuscule budget. There are strokes in that film that exhibit a budding director whose future only holds better things. Just how much better, exactly, I don’t think anyone could have expected. Saulnier’s 2013 follow-up, Blue Ruin,isa masterful sophomore effort.
The revenge thriller has been a staple in film for decades. Death Wish, Kill Bill, I Spit On Your Grave — we’ve all seen movies in which revenge is the central motivator. In the majority of these films, the concept of revenge is the end goal of the main characters and, more often than not, it’s supposed to be a celebratory event. Revenge is seen as the proverbial cherry atop the blood-stained ice cream sundae.
In these films, we usually see the event that sparks the main character’s bloodlust. We watch in terror as they are betrayed, left for dead, or worse yet, bear witness to the death of their loved ones. We feel the pain that the protagonist endures, and maybe we even wish that we could be the ones to connect that final blow to the adversary. By the end, we’ve watched the protagonist go to hell and back to defeat their nemeses, and we cheer as the enemy finally gets what’s coming to them.
Over the following weeks, I will be reviewing the three films directed by Jeremy Saulnier, a particularly exciting young filmmaker who has been garnering a lot of traction these past few years. Perhaps not so well known to mass audiences, but definitely in the view of more niche horror/indie film corners of the spectrum, Jeremy Saulnier is a young writer-director best known for his critically acclaimed 2013 revenge-thriller Blue Ruin.
After seeing his latest release, Green Room, I went back and watched his previous films, and will be reviewing them in chronological order of release.
And so, Murder Party:
Murder Party is an 80-minute comedy-horror film from 2007 by a first-time director, created with virtually no budget, and featuring a cast of amateur actors. Admittedly, it doesn’t seem to have much going for it knowing that, but Saulnier and Co. actually work to create a humorous, lean, and unique horror film that is unlike any I’ve seen before.