Killing Season (film)

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Killing Season
Killing Season film poster.jpg
Teaser poster
Directed byMark Steven Johnson
Produced byPaul Breuls
Screenplay byEvan Daugherty
StarringJohn Travolta
Robert De Niro
Milo Ventimiglia
Elizabeth Olin
Music byChristopher Young
CinematographyPeter Menzies Jr.
Edited bySean Albertson
Nu Image
Millennium Films
Corsan Pictures
Release date
  • July 12, 2013 (2013-07-12)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$39,881 (domestic)
n/a (international)[1]

Killing Season (previously titled Shrapnel)[citation needed] is a 2013 American action thriller film written by Evan Daugherty and directed by Mark Steven Johnson for Millennium Films,[2][3][4][5][6] as the first on-screen pairing of actors John Travolta and Robert De Niro.[3] The film pertains to a personal fight between an American and a Serb war veteran.[7]

Daugherty's script caught the attention of producers after winning the 2008 Script Pipeline[8] Screenwriting Competition.[9] The film received negative reviews from critics and was a box office bomb.


During the Bosnian War, American troops witness atrocities and then shoot Serbians they hold accountable for them.

In present-day Belgrade, Serbia, former Scorpions soldier Emil Kovač (Travolta), who survived the shootings, meets his informant to retrieve a file on American military veteran and former NATO operative Colonel Benjamin Ford (De Niro). Ford has fled to a cabin retreat somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, to forget the war. Now a recluse, he meets Kovač, posing as a European tourist, during a hunting trip. The two men become friendly, until Kovač reveals his true identity. Intent on revenge, he initiates a gory game of cat-and-mouse with Ford. The latter is badly injured but is quick to rebound. After a showdown, Kovač is overpowered by Ford. They reach a peaceful compromise, however, after understanding each other's predicament. Kovač quietly returns to Serbia, while Ford visits his son, to make up for missing his grandson's baptism.



"It's thrilling, imaginative, unexpected and dominated by two extraordinary characters on a collision course"
— Paul Breuls, Corsan's Chief Executive Officer, when asked about the film.[10]

The project was originally set in the 1970s and titled Shrapnel. It was being considered by John Travolta and Nicolas Cage as a project to follow up on their film Face/Off and by director John McTiernan as a directing vehicle.[11] Subsequently renamed and modified to take place in modern-day Appalachia,[12] and co-financed and co-produced by Corsan, Nu Image and Millennium Films, filming began on January 16, 2012,[4][5][6][13] in the Appalachian Mountains of north Georgia.[2] Major filming was scheduled for Tallulah Gorge State Park and Black Rock Mountain State Park. The locations in Rabun County were chosen by director Mark Steven Johnson to create the effect and mood he had previously seen in the film Deliverance.[3] Other minor filming locations included Sofia, Bulgaria,[14][15] Sweetwater Creek State Park,[16] and the Pine Mountain Gold Museum in Stockmar Park, Villa Rica.[17] International sales for Killing Season, offered by the American Film Market, commenced on November 2, 2011, in Santa Monica.[13] American cellist/singer/songwriter Ben Sollee contributed solo cello performances as well as an original song,[18] "Letting Go",[19] for the end credits.


Critical response[edit]

Killing Season was released in the United States on July 12, 2013, to both the home screen and in cinemas. Boyd van Hoeij of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the film would be better off as a "small-screen item".[20] The film has received almost exclusively negative reviews from critics, and as of November 2016 holds an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, out of 19 reviews counted.[21] Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News awarded the film one out of five stars, panning Travolta's character's Serbian accent.[22] David DeWitt of The New York Times stated that "[i]t's not worthless, but it's not good. As a genre film, it's too ambitious; as an art film, it's too obvious."[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Killing Season". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Alzayat, Dima (January 27, 2012). "On Location: 'Killing Season' for De Niro, Travolta in Georgia". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Chandler, Ray (January 23, 2012). "'Killing Season', starring John Travolta & Robert De Niro, begins filming in Rabun County, GA this week". The Anderson Independent-Mail. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (October 29, 2011). "Robert De Niro, John Travolta Team For 'Killing Season'". Deadline. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (October 29, 2011). "De Niro, Travolta set for 'Killing Season': Thesps to star in actioner from Millennium, Corsan". Variety. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Sitterson, Aubrey (November 1, 2011). "Robert De Niro and John Travolta will star together in 'Killing Season'". IFC. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  7. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (October 30, 2011). "De Niro, Travolta in Killing Season". IGN. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  8. ^ Script Pipeline
  9. ^ Pipeline, Script (February 4, 2010). "Evan Daugherty – Script Pipeline". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  10. ^ McColl, Gavin (October 31, 2011). "John Travolta and Robert De Niro Team Up For "Killing Season"". International Business Times. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  11. ^ "Robert De Niro replaces Nicolas Cage in new action thriller 'Killing Season'". NME. October 31, 2011. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  12. ^ Jessica (October 29, 2011). "John Travolta and Robert De Niro to Star in Killing Season". Moviehole. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Kilday, Gregory (October 29, 2011). "Robert De Niro, John Travolta Team Up for 'Killing Season'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  14. ^ "Robert de Niro arrives in Bulgaria for Killing Season movie shoot". The Sofia Globe. October 10, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  15. ^ "Bulgaria's Zealous Fans Welcome Stuns Robert De Niro". October 10, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  16. ^ Willis, Haisten (March 2012). "Local filming wraps up for 'Killing Season' starring De Niro, Travolta". Douglas County Sentinel. Retrieved November 6, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Crawford, Spencer (March 2012). "Hollywood for a day: De Niro in Villa Rica to shoot movie scene". Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  18. ^ Brown, Burgess (July 8, 2013). "Song Premiere: Ben Sollee - 'Letting Go'". Paste. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  19. ^ "Letting Go - Single". iTunes Music Store. July 12, 2013. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  20. ^ van Heoij, Boyd (June 12, 2013). "Killing Season: Karlovy Vary Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  21. ^ "Killing Season (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  22. ^ Neumaier, Joe (July 11, 2013). "'Killing Season': movie review". Daily News. New York.
  23. ^ Dewitt, David (July 11, 2013). "It's Bosnia in Appalachia". The New York Times.

External links[edit]