Green Room takes skinhead horror to grisly new heights

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      Starring Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, and Imogen Poots. Rated 18A. Opens Friday (April 29).

      I love Green Room's plot about a destitute punk band trapped in a grungy backwoods bar by murderous neo-Nazi skinheads as much as the next guy. Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier--who proved his suspense mettle with 2013's Blue Ruin--does a bang-up job with the hair-raising aspects of that premise.

      If only his first-act depiction of rockers on the road were slightly more believable. Maybe a few viewings of Bruce McDonald's Hard Core Logo would have done the trick.

      The Ain't Rights are a pretentious hardcore band from Washington, D.C., composed of greenhaired singer Tiger (Callum Turner), sensitive bassist Pat (Anton Yelchin), mother-hen guitarist Sam (Alia Shawkat), and loose-cannon drummer Reece (Joe Cole). The quartet barely scrapes by while touring around the Pacific Northwest in its aging van, siphoning gas to get from one crappy-paying gig to the next.

      Like the best punk bands, though, they like to stir up shit, so when they score a gig at an isolated white-supremacist hangout they bravely open with the Dead Kennedys' "Nazi Punks Fuck Off". They survive the ensuing shower of beer, curses, and spittle, but while exiting the dive witness something that causes its evil owner (the curiously cast Patrick Stewart) to decide they must be killed. He dispatches a squad of jackbooted thugs to flush them out of the dressing room they've taken refuge in, along with fellow witness/stranger Amber (Imogen Poots).

      Around this time the movie viciously transforms from a semi-hokey portrayal of a struggling punk band to a gritty survival-horror flick that keeps you transfixed till the bitter end, ladling on the tension and nasty violence, and offering up some of the most terrifying Rottweiler attack scenes since The Omen.

      Like those fierce throat-chompers, horror fans will eat it up.