The Killing Room
Remember that horrible movie from 2003 called Darkness Falls, where the Tooth Fairy starts ripping people apart if they step into the darkness? Well, The Killing Room comes from the same director, Jonathan Liebesman. While I can’t give a full Bitchin’ Films endorsement to this flick, I can safely say that Liebesman has improved markedly since the Tooth Fairy disaster.
The premise of The Killing Room is simple and has been done before. Four individuals sign up to participate in some sort of government testing. These individuals are played by actors Timothy Hutton, Nick Cannon, Clea DuVall, and Shea Whigham. It quickly becomes clear that this isn’t your average government study, and the four (who are stuck in a single room for 90 percent of the film) quickly become part of a desperate game to be the last one to stay alive. Yes, this does sound like another Sundance movie called Saw. Or that Greg Kinnear movie no one saw called Unknown, or that John Cusack movie, Identity. But, just like those movies, The Killing Room has it’s on socio-political twist that makes it somewhat unpredictable, but still not very interesting.
The writing actually wasn’t bad. This is thanks to an original script from first time writer Gus Krieger (who, during the Q&A, said he was going for a Chekhov play with head wounds when he started writing). The acting was pretty terrific. This is one of two Sundance movies for Academy Award-winner Timothy Hutton. Both he and Shea Whigham led the cast in talent. Peter Stormare plays a creepy, soulless doctor well, and unfortunately, freaky deaky Chloe Sevigny’s talents were completely wasted on a role that requires nothing more of her but to look uncomfortable. Nick Cannon is apparently trying to move away from shitty movies like Drumline, and while he couldn’t keep up with the bigger talents, I applaud this effort. I have to say that the film is mostly unremarkable besides one truly shocking moment, despite keeping up a strong sense of brutality throughout. This tired storyline, while done competently, depends on it’s boring twist ending to make the audience care. It didn’t quite do it for me.