Hello everybody! For this weeks movie club, we have the psychological thriller The Killing Room.
THE KILLING ROOM
STARRING: Chloë Sevigny, Nick Cannon, Timothy Hutton, Clea DuVall, Shea Whigham, Peter Stormare
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Liebesman
GENRE: Psychological Thriller
COUNTRY: United States
Four volunteers sign up for what initially appears to be a typical paid research study, only to discover that they’ve unwittingly become involved with a classified government program that was said to have been terminated nearly two decades ago, in this tense psychological thriller from director Jonathan Liebesman (Darkness Falls, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning). The allure of a little extra cash proving too powerful to resist, four strangers decide to partake in a paid research study. As the study gets underway, the group is presented with a series of questions, and given a finite window of time in which each individual member must submit a unique numerical answer. At first, the participants all assume that the subject who gives the most obviously incorrect answer will be removed from the experiment, though it doesn’t take long for the group to realize that the correct answer isn’t always the answer that the researchers are looking for. Meanwhile, as the brooding Dr. Phillips (Peter Stormare) attempts to manipulate the study to get the answers he wants, the newest member of his team, military psychologist Ms. Reilly (Chloe Sevigny) begins questioning the ethics of such a diabolical experiment.
The Killing Room is part Saw (without the torture porn), part Cube (minus the sci-fi), but with a more psychological edge. The four individuals are part of a brutal test which is set up in a super classified government program that was relaunched after 9/11. This isn’t a spoiler because it’s explained as the film opens. And obviously it gets a lot deeper than that. What is the government program hoping to accomplish? You will find out, and it’s actually a pretty descent twist from what you might believe going in.
Horror director Jonathan Liebesman shows that he’s better suited to make thrillers. The second half drags more than it should, and probably more so because the opening starts off with such an intense bang. The film does what any good indie thriller should do — it takes an interesting set of interesting subjects, and puts them in a mysterious and terrifying situation which forces them to show their true character.
The true star of the show, though, is Chloë Sevigny as Ms. Reilly. After watching Sevigny in the HBO series “Big Love” I was familiar with this actress, but didn’t much like her. The fact is, I didn’t like her character… and that, I now realize, is a testament to the skill of this actress. Sevigny is just phenomenal with emotion and repressed actions showing in every expression on her face. The appeal of The Killing Room rest squarely on her shoulders, and she wears it well.
The Killing Room is an excellent film that will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. The suspense is painful, yet so compelling that hitting the pause button is not possible – your hand just won’t move.
Although this film hovers at times between thriller and horror, horror movie freaks are sure to find some enjoyment and count it among the favorites of the straight to DVD films of the year.
- Interesting background.
- Interesting characters.
- Hidden motivations.
- First and second act pacing.
- Third act drags longer than it should.
- Thriller or Horror?
- Nick Cannon is a major pussy.
SCORE: 7.0 / 10
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