Sundance Review: The Killing Room


Director:Jonathan Liebesman

Cast:Chloe Sevigny, Peter Stormare, Timothy Hutton, Nick Cannon

Running Time:93.00


WIth the inclination of earning some extra cash, four innocent volunteers walk into a room, assuming that they are about to participate in a somewhat generic research study program. However, within a matter of minutes, each is thrown into an entirely different word; one of chaotic murder and mind games. The rules are simple; however, the decisions are not. With time counting down, the next victim must be selected. With nowhere to turn, each must give into their inner fears and agree to play, for the only way out, if any, is victory.

Tampering with the human mind can be fun, but in Jonathan Liebesman's The Killing Room, the act is gruesome and deadly. Never before has a film encompasses so much, yet left so much unanswered. The project, the participants, they are all regretfully realistic, creating another layer of terror and concern for all those watching.

My only concern with the film is its approach. Using the inclination of bringing a new body into the force, the film helps you to connect with those who are preforming the inhumane tasks. While the approach is good, fear and uncertainty could have been better achieved by leaving those outside of the room a mystery. However, the simple change does not ruin or hinder the film's overall effect.

Featuring a cast that includes the likes of Timothy Hutton, Peter Stormare and Nick Cannon, the film's talent runs deep, and for good reason. While the story is, and always will be the center pole for the picture's overall success, it is the work of those on the screen that audience' s relate to most. The sudden movements, intense facial expressions and feeling of uncertainty all come together to form a miraculous picture of unknowing fear and the effects it has on one's psyche.

Additionally, Jonathan Liebesman does a magnificent job as he uses the simplest of gestures to induce the largest amount of fear and hysteria. The loud sounds, white walls and mundane tone help to create a spooky picture that will stay with for days. And with an ending the reminisces that of Saw, The Killing Room is nothing short of a physiological thrill ride; one that will take you to hell and back, leaving you in your seat, begging for more.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

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