The Killing Room (2009)

The Killing Room is a film by Jonathan Liebesman, starring Chloë Sevigny, Peter Stormare, Timothy Hutton, Nick Cannon, Shea Whigham and Clea DuVall (it seems I’m on a Clea DuVall roll. In the past month I’ve seen more films with her than in the past three years put together).

Emily Reilly (Chloë Sevigny) is a military psychologist who gets called in for a job interview by Dr. Phillips (Peter Stormare) who works for a secret division of the CIA. He wants her to take a look at an experiment he’s been conducting: In this experiment, Phillips locks four strangers into a room. Under the pretense of normal psychological testing. But the experiment gets quickly out of hand when Phillips shoots one of the four.

I like locked room films and The Killing Room is a nice example of one. It probably won’t blow you away or leave you astonished, but it does its job nicely (if you disregard the logical flaws and the bad script) and with good performances.


So, the movie had some issues. Mostly, that the final reveal doesn’t make much sense. So, they’re doing this experiment to make some US-American suicide bombers? Apart from the fact that I don’t think this would work, isn’t that the most convoluted way to create suicide bombers, ever? I mean, wouldn’t it be easier to just blackmail people into it, if you need suicide bombers that badly?

The entire script isn’t that strong with logic anyway. People jump to the most complicated conclusions within seconds and everything is explained because it has to be – you wouldn’t get it on your own otherwise. Unfortunately, it’s explained in rather stilted dialogue and with some ridiculous seeming military slang.

But despite all that, Liebesman manages to keep the tension up and you’re drawn again and again into the room with the four people. Although I have to admit that would have probably changed drastically had it been longer than 90 minutes.

The most engaging part of the movie are the actors, though. Clea DuVall’s Kerry is unfortunately the first to go, which makes her presence really short (I would have preferred if Timothy Hutton’s Crawford had died first, to be honest, he was a bit annoying). But Nick Cannon and Shea Whigham were fine.

Peter Stormare and Chloë Sevigny were actually brilliant though. If they hadn’t talked mostly exposition instead of dialogue, I would have had no problem with watching only them for the entirety of the film.

Summarising: If you like this kind of films, The Killing Room is a good watch.


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