The Killing Room

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The Killing Room
The Killing Room 2009.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman
Produced by Guymon Casady
Ross M. Dinerstein
Bobby Schwartz
Ben Forkner
Screenplay by Gus Krieger
Ann Peacock
Story by Gus Krieger
Starring Chloë Sevigny
Nick Cannon
Timothy Hutton
Clea DuVall
Shea Whigham
Peter Stormare
Music by Brian Tyler
Cinematography Lukas Ettlin
Edited by Sean Carter
Winchester Capital Partners
Management 360
Eleven Eleven Films
Distributed by ContentFilm
Release date
  • January 16, 2009 (2009-01-16) (Sundance Film Festival)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Killing Room is a 2009 psychological thriller film directed by Jonathan Liebesman and starring Clea DuVall, Nick Cannon, Chloë Sevigny and Timothy Hutton. It premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.[1] It is being distributed internationally by ContentFilm.[2]


Four individuals sign up for a psychological research study only to discover that they are now subjects of a brutal, modern version of the Project MKULTRA indoctrination program.[2] One by one, the subjects are brought into a large, white room, in which the tables and chairs have been bolted to the floor.

They are each given a questionnaire to fill out. In the meantime, a researcher enters the room, ostensibly to give an overview of the study. He indicates to the subjects—three men and a woman—that the study will take approximately eight hours to complete, at which time they will each be paid $250. Upon completing his introduction, the researcher shoots the female subject in the head with a gun and promptly leaves the room.

Over the next few hours, the remaining three male subjects will be subjected to additional physical and psychological brutality. Only one subject will survive the ordeal. This subject manages to escape into the building. The loudspeaker gives details of where the subject is in the building. It is then realized that the subject is going where he is supposed to be. He ends up in a room with two other males tied to their chairs. The loudspeaker then states that phase 2 is to begin.

It is revealed, during the last subject's escape attempt, that the goal of the covert program is to achieve in human civilians a phenomenon similar to apoptosis in cells (a comparison noted in the film), by developing "civilian weapons" akin to suicide bombers.



The film garnered a score of 67% on ratings aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.[3] MTV's Larry Carroll labeled it as the “best movie” at Sundance 2009, praising it as “brutal, daring and utterly unpredictable”. Alongside other films with a claustrophobic air, he characterised it as "Cube with better actors. Reservoir Dogs without the hipness. Lifeboat with a modern spin on war-time paranoia."[4]


  1. ^ Todd McCarthy (2008-12-04). "More star power at Sundance". Variety. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Ali Jaafar (2008-02-08). "'Killing Room' sells to ContentFilm". Variety. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  3. ^ "The Killing Room (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Carroll, Larry (2009-01-18). "Sundance: We Review Nick Cannon's 'The Killing Room'". MTV. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 

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