In 1975 the Rockefeller Commission ordered for the classified MK-Ultra project to be brought down, as an investigation commenced, no evidence was found proving the existence of the unit. 34 years later the program is still running. When fiercely ambitious Emily Riley (Sevigny), a naïve military body language expert, is offered the job of a lifetime she accepts the challenge. Brought into the fold of sinister Dr Phillips (Stormare), she is tested on her clinical and physiological observation skills, unaware of the Dr's MK-Ultra affiliation. Her job? To watch and analyse four unwitting volunteers who, in need of some quick cash, sign up to what they believe is a paid marketing study, only to later realise that they are being used as subjects in a deadly classified psychological government programme: MK-Ultra.
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning) and based on "true events", The Killing Room is not the type of film you'd expect to come from the director of a gory Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie as unlike that franchise, this movie relies solely on psychological terrors rather than physical. The premise is similar to Cube and the original Saw movie - strangers trapped together in a room are forced to make hard choices in order to survive. The Killing Room doesn't go for the gore; instead, it succeeds by creating a highly claustrophobic atmosphere thanks in part to setting the film almost entirely in one room.
The film's atmosphere is helped further by the cast - in a suprise turn of events, Nick Cannon manages to hold his own against a superb commanding performance by Timothy Hutton. The two hold the audiences attention so well as they debate how best to evade their captors, that when the film switches from the events in the room to the conversation between Dr. Phillips (Stormare) and Sevigny's expert Emily you are left feeling let down by the performances of the normally reliable pair.
The Killing Room is a suprise all round, from the direction - who would have thought the director of Darkness Falls could produce such a good psychological thriller? - to the acting, the film keeps you guessing all the way to the end, and then suprises you further with a shocking plot twist that explains why the programme exists and asks what you would be willing to do for your country. You can answer that question when The Killing Room is released on DVD on 17th August 2009 courtesy of Momentum Pictures.
EXTRAS Just a trailer