Directed by: Jeremy Saulnier. This movie came highly recommended by word of mouth, and that kind of buzz is an exciting way to discover a movie. I’m usually turned off by the horror genre in a pretty general and ungenerous way, I usually don’t give it the benefit of the doubt, I usually don’t care. This is usually because of the unique features of horror movies, and the unique features of me, which don’t mesh well. I don’t like being scared, because being scared is a negative emotion, and why would I like that? To work effectively, horror movies need to be horrifying, so if it’s not scary, it’s not doing its job very well, and why would I want to see that? And even if the horror movie is scary, it might just be a dumb movie anyway. When I was a kid I saw Halloween, and I’m sure it’s amazing, and very important to the genre, but what’s the point of a movie about a faceless psychopath killing people at random, just to make you more paranoid about the outside word? I found it to be frivolous and dumb. And I suppose the minor tweak that this is about instilling fear in the Nazi punk rock underworld may be a minor one, but I didn’t feel that this movie was pointless. I really enjoyed this, from top to bottom. Maybe the difference was that I wasn’t terrified by this movie. I guess it will make me a little more paranoid to be around strangers in a new situation, but to me, this movie had a sheen of independent movie-ness around it, and recognizable actors, etc, that cocooned me from any semblance of reality. Basically, I read this as an adult suspense thriller, and it really was suspenseful and thrilling, but it doesn’t make me afraid to turn out the lights, which is nice. Really, this filmmaker is great, and I’m encouraged by this film to see his first one, Blue Ruin, also high on the indie cred word of mouth. All of the acting is amazing, from Anton Yelchin (God rest is beautiful soul) and Imogen Poots, and Ali Shawkat (from Arrested Development), and Joe Cole (the young one from Peaky Blinders), and the Saulnier regular Macon Blair. Really, it’s a credit to this incredible cast that a heavy hitter like Patrick Stewart isn’t out of place in this movie. This is really an ensemble, each person pushing and pulling and being in the right place at the right time, even the skinhead thugs feel like real people, real individuals, with individuals names and faces and motivations, etc. Additionally, it’s always interesting to see how independent, DIY music scenes are portrayed in film. Usually it makes me think that the people involved have never played music before, and the fact that Saulnier was in some punk bands in his youth makes me think that this little punk club in a remote compound in the woods in Oregon or Washington isn’t that farfetched. The live playing by the actors is a great touch (to me, a necessity), and in my mind, for what it’s worth, this film is far closer to the overall vibe of being in a band than the cute and whimsical Frank, murderous skinheads notwithstanding.