So I finally saw the rest of Hardcore Henry. I completely stand by my review of the first 45 minutes and am only disappointed in myself that I gave this inexcusably boring failed experiment of an action movie a second chance.
Despite receiving some very generous reviews from some of our Honourary Assholes, Hardcore Henry didn’t quite draw the crowd that I was expecting. In fact, for the first time in my life, I found myself alone in a movie theater for a full 96 minutes.
Having the room to myself had its advantages. I didn’t have to glare at anyone for eating noisy nachos or checking their phone and could even feel comfortable to check my own phone whenever I wanted. I also got up and changed seats twice. I didn’t enjoy the Coming Attractions though.
Have you seen the preview for Lights Out?
It’s fucking scary!!!! Now imagine watching it in a big dark room all by yourself where the speakers are so loud that nobody outside would be able to hear you scream. I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder throughout the previews. They actually make these previews way too scary if you ask me. Here I am sitting down to watch a guilty pleasure action movie and am stuck watching terrifying clips of scary movies that I never would have consented to see.
This trailer didn’t have the same effect when I was forced to sit through it again, this time with twenty or so other people who came to see Green Room. There seems to be a feeling of strength in numbers when dealing with the paranormal. I didn’t know anyone else in the theater but I felt safer knowing that they were there.
That feeling of security didn’t last once Green Room started. If you haven’t heard of this (by my count) third feature from writer-director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin), it features a young punk band who barricade themselves in their dressing room after a controversial set to protect themselves against neo-Nazis. It’s the kind of movie that makes you fear your fellow man and wondering what the guy sitting behind you is capable of.
Saulnier takes his time at first to give us a chance to start to like this struggling touring band. As the story unfolds and the sense of danger continues to intensify, it becomes harder and harder to guess what’s coming next. Which isn’t to say that there is any real mystery or even any major twists. Saulnier isn’t nearly lazy enough for that. He just presents believable characters in a credible (at least credible for this genre) situation and dares to ask “Now what?”. It’s a violent film with terribly violent things happening to its characters on both sides of the door. Somehow, however, it never feels sadistic or exploitative. Every act of violence in Green Room is presented as a terrible thing and, for once, there isn’t a single character that seemed to want this situation to turn this bloody.
So, to sum up, see Green Room if you don’t mind a tense and occasionally punishing 95 minutes, don’t see Hardcore Henry, and don’t watch the trailer for Lights Out alone.