Ahhh, a true psychological thriller is upon us. Found in the depths of the DVD vault, The Killing Room has been discovered by yours truly. And it's an excellent find.
A group of four regular people sign up to be voluntary lab rats in a psychological research study. This is something they believe will be like pretty much any other voluntary testing procedure that people enlist in when they need money. (These things seem to prey upon the financially disenfranchised, ya know?)
So, we have four people; Kerry (Clea DuVall), a young woman, blonde, looking completely stressed out; Paul (Nick Cannon), a young man, average, dark hair and eyes, quiet and shy, seems a couple sandwiches short of a picnic; Crawford (Timothy Hutton), roughly middle aged, dark hair, wears a beanie, seems to know his way around the block; Tony (Shea Whigham), a high strung man probably in his late twenties or early thirties, anger issues, doesn’t seem overly bright.
They are brought into this all white room, one by one. It looks like a cross between something highly intuitional, like from a psych ward, and a police interrogation room. There is a window at the top of the room, near the ceiling, that appears to be a two-way mirror type of thing.
As they are brought into this room they are given a clipboard with a mountain of paperwork on it that they are supposed to fill out. It has bizarre questions on it like,
You and a bunch of friends are on a boat and it’s sinking. Who do you save first?
Then we have a doctor, Dr. Phillips (Peter Stormare), who comes in and explains that there are four phases to the experiment and one participant will be eliminated after each phase. However, regardless of what phase they are eliminated at, they will each be paid $250 for their participation in said experiment.
Now, along with the good doctor, is what we’ll call an Observer. Her name is Emily (Chloe Sevigny). She is a master in all kinds of psychology and was specially chosen to observe THIS experiment because of her particular skill set.
As soon as the doctor finishes explaining the goings on and what’s to happen, he nears Kerry and asks her for her name. As she smiles and tells him, BAM! gunshot to the forehead, right between the eyes. She drops dead to the floor and our friend the doctor informs the rest of the participants that the experiment is on…and leaves.
Now, the three men that are left are locked, trapped, in this room and there’s a friggin’ dead chick on the floor. They are also swiftly realizing that this is not just some regular psychological experiment. And they are NOT going to be just walking out of there when they are done.
As things progress, they are given questions to answer. The person farthest from the correct answer will be the next eliminated. They also notice names, dates and prayers etched into the white walls but have been painted over. They are even given a gun with one bullet at one point and “discuss” how that one bullet should be expended.
Their anxiety levels are skyrocketing and things get more and more tense as people die.
The Observer, Emily, sits behind the two-way mirror and watches the participants behavior, analyzing each of them and reporting her findings to the doctor, who sits there with her. This is sort of like her test run to see if she is ready to be a part of what they do there.
And that’s the burning question. What are they doing??? It’s a program called MK-Ultra. It’s an experiment in the breaking point of the human psyche. What are regular civilians with little to no training actually capable of? That’s what they want to find out.
And Emily, she’s not sure if she wants to be a part of this or not. Three Presidents have banned this program and yet it still exists in the shadows of the world, beyond the military, beyond the government, beyond our control.
Aaannnnndddd…that’s where I am going to stop with the details. I am not going to give anything else away.
I thought this was an excellent movie. It moved at a great, steady pace. It kept me interested the whole way through and I was left feeling entirely satisfied. I thought the acting was very adequate even though I am so not a fan of Nick Cannon, I can’t stand him. But they were all good in this movie.
There was no real gore and not a lot of blood in this movie for it being a horror/thriller, however, the mental anguish and psychological torment our subjects feel is very apparent and portrayed well on screen. This would be a great movie for someone who like conspiracy theories too. The idea that there is an organization out there somewhere conducting mind experiments on unsuspecting, hapless citizens without the approval or knowledge of the government could be rather unsettling to some.
In conclusion, I finished this movie with a smile and would recommend it to any thriller fan!
RATING 4/5 Stars