Principal photography took place during October 2014 in Portland, Oregon. The film was financed and produced by Broad Green Pictures. Green Room was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. At the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, the film finished third in the balloting for the Grolsch People's Choice Midnight Madness Award. The film began a limited release on April 15, 2016, before being widely released on May 13 through A24. It has a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and appears on many critics' list as one of the best films of 2016. It underperformed at the box-office, grossing $3.8 million against a budget of $5 million. In 2017, the film received an Empire Award nomination for Best Horror.
Pat, Sam, Reece and Tiger are members of a punk band, the Ain't Rights, traveling through the Pacific Northwest. After their gig is cancelled, local radio host Tad arranges a show outside Portland through his cousin, Daniel. At the club, a neo-Nazi skinhead bar in the remote Oregon woods, the band opens with a Dead Kennedys cover, "Nazi Punks Fuck Off". This angers the audience, but they win them over with their original songs.
After the show, Pat returns to the green room to retrieve Sam's phone. He sees members of the neo-Nazi band Cowcatcher and the body of a girl, Emily, who has been stabbed to death. Emily's friend Amber asks Pat to call the police. He does so, reporting a stabbing, but bar employees Gabe and Big Justin confiscate the band's phones and hold them hostage in the green room. Gabe pays a skinhead to stab another to create a cover story for the police who respond to the call. He consults with bar owner and skinhead leader Darcy, who decides to kill the band to eliminate witnesses.
The band overpowers Big Justin and holds him hostage, taking a boxcutter from his pocket, leading to negotiations through the door with Darcy, who asks them to surrender the gun. Pat agrees, but as he opens the door and begins to hand over the gun, Darcy and his men slash at Pat's arm until he drops the gun. He manages to close the door. Big Justin attempts to attack the band, but Reece chokes him into unconsciousness. When Big Justin surprises Reece by awaking again, Reece chokes him to death and Amber slits open his stomach with his boxcutter.
Searching for a way out, the band discover an underground drug lab, but the only exit is locked from the outside. Arming themselves with improvised weapons, they exit the green room into the empty club, but are attacked by a dog, which kills Tiger. Chased onto the stage, Amber and Pat drive the dog away with microphone feedback. Reece tries to flee through a window, but is stabbed to death by a skinhead. Pat, Amber, and Sam retreat to the green room. Darcy sends Daniel into the club to kill the band, who Darcy claims murdered Emily. Amber tells Daniel that it was really the skinheads who murdered her after discovering he and Emily planned to leave the skinheads together. Daniel agrees to help them escape and leads the band into the club, where he is shot by the bartender. The group kills the bartender and takes his shotgun, but Darcy and his men kill Sam and wound Amber, who scrambles back to the green room with Pat.
Darcy sends in two more skinheads to kill Pat and Amber before leaving the venue with the bodies, planning to stage their deaths to appear as if they were killed while trespassing. Pat lures one skinhead into the underground drug lab while the other remains in the green room, where Amber ambushes and kills him by cutting his throat with the boxcutter. As Pat struggles with the skinhead, Amber sneaks up and shoots him. Gabe enters the green room to find his companions dead and surrenders to Pat and Amber. Holding him at gunpoint, they trek through the woods to seek help. When Pat hears Darcy and his men staging the crime scene, he and Amber decide to go after them. Gabe volunteers to go to a nearby farm and call the police. Pat and Amber kill Darcy's henchman before executing Darcy as he starts to flee. Their ammunition and energy spent, Pat and Amber sit on the side of the road and wait for police.Anton Yelchin as Pat, bassist of the Ain't Rights
Imogen Poots as Amber, witness to the murder
Alia Shawkat as Sam, the guitarist
Joe Cole as Reece, the drummer
Callum Turner as Tiger, the singer
Patrick Stewart as Darcy Banker, leader of the skinheads
Macon Blair as Gabe, a skinhead bouncer
Mark Webber as Daniel, a skinhead
Kai Lennox as Clark
Eric Edelstein as Big Justin, a skinhead bouncer
Samuel Summer as Jonathan
David W. Thompson as Tad, a radio host and promoter
Colton Ruscheinsky as Alan
The film came from Saulnier‘s desire to create a thriller set in a green room, calling the idea "an obsession" Saulnier created a short film set in one as part of a 48-hour film challenge in 2007 although that involved the supernatural and according to Saulnier "Really kind of fun and hammy." However he still wanted a chance to do his green room movie "the right way. Although the film features a large amount of violence and what Saulnier calls "full frontal gore" he has gone on record as stating that it is not "sadistic", and that every act of violence apart from the initiating incident is done with a reason. As such Saulnier made sure that there were no "gratuitous close ups" of recently deceased characters.
On May 22, 2014, it was announced that Broad Green Pictures would finance and produce the film directed and written by Jeremy Saulnier, with Film Science. Anish Savjani, Neil Kopp and Victor Moyers would produce the film. On October 16, Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots joined the lead cast of the film, along with Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner, Joe Cole, Macon Blair and Mark Webber. On October 21, Patrick Stewart was added to the cast to play Darcy Banker, the leader of a violent white supremacist group, while other cast includes Kai Lennox, Eric Edelstein and Taylor Tunes.
Principal photography began in October 2014 in Portland, Oregon. The location for Tad's house was in Astoria, Oregon, on the Oregon coast, and the forest scenes were filmed in the Mount Hood National Forest.
On October 29, 2014, WestEnd Films acquired the international rights to the film. The film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2015. Shortly after, it was announced A24 Films had acquired distribution rights to the film. The film screened on opening night of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, on September 10, 2015.
The film was originally to open in a limited release on April 1, 2016, before opening in a wide release on April 15, 2016. However, it was moved to April 15, in limited release, and May 13 wide.
According to Box Office Mojo, Green Room opened at #30 in its limited release, premiering in 3 theaters, culminating over $87,984. In its official wide release, the film premiered at 777 theaters, taking the #16 rank on opening weekend, and grossing more than $411,376.
The film holds a 90% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 202 reviews and has an average rating of 7.7/10. The critical consensus reads: "Green Room delivers unapologetic genre thrills with uncommon intelligence and powerfully acted élan." Metacritic reports an 79 out of 100 rating based on 42 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times praised Patrick Stewart, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat and Macon Blair's performances and called the film "a wonderfully nasty, gruesome, jagged-edge gem of a horror film" that has "first-rate" cinematography, set design, soundtrack, and editing. Barry Hertz of The Globe and Mail awarded it a full four stars and wrote, "Jeremy Saulnier (Murder Party, Blue Ruin) continues one of the best streaks in independent horror with this terrifying and inventive thriller." Lenika Cruz of The Atlantic said it's "a tense gore-fest, one that’s as grimy and claustrophobic as the titular room. But scrape off the scum, and you’ll find Green Room full of visual artistry, dark humor, smart writing, and glints of humanity". IGN awarded it a score of 9 out of 10, saying, "This follow-up to the brilliant Blue Ruin pits a rock band against white supremacists with ace, ultra-violent results."
Jeffrey Bloomer of Slate favorably compared the film's "genre maturity", "amoral survivalism and malleable sense of good and evil", "brutal efficiency" and "weary humor" to John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 and praised the cast, writing "If the world knows any justice[...] then the Screen Actors Guild will remember this cast when it doles out its awards next year". James Berardinelli concludes the film is "for anyone who enjoys sitting through 90 tense minutes and feeling the attendant adrenaline rush. It’s like a well-constructed horror movie" that's "As intimate as it is unnerving". Guy Lodge of Variety called it "a technically sharp backwoods horror-thriller that lacks a human element". Leslie Felperin of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that it's entertaining but "less disciplined, less original and less memorable work than Blue Ruin".
Green Room was listed on many film critics' top ten lists.