Sundance Movie Review: The Killing Room

So, you respond to a psychological research study advertisement in the classifieds and find yourself in a big white room with three other test subjects. In the middle of the room are metal chairs and tables, everything bolted to the ground. Small vents in the floor, bigger ones in the ceiling, and a two-way mirror glass observation window above.

After filling out a small paper test and surrendering all your valuables (including cellphones and wallets), the person in change of the test study explains that it will last all day. After each task, one member will be asked to leave in an elimination style. And then the man conducting a test removes a gun and shoots one of the test subjects in the head and exits, the vault like door closes shut behind him. What do you do?

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.

/Film Rating: 7.5 out 10

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About the Author

Peter Sciretta is a film geek and popcultured fanboy living in Los Angeles. He created /Film in 2005.

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