Monday, March 28, 2011
It's a hot summer evening at a small roadside dinner, near closing time. A handful of locals are hanging out, chatting up waitress Noreen (Amber Benson, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) and proprietor/cook Jimmy (Danny Trejo, MACHETE), when a news report comes over the radio about a multiple homicide in a neighboring county. The unsettling news puts the diner's occupants on edge - especially when a couple of lone customers come in (Harold Perrineau, LOST, and Michael Madsen, RESERVOIR DOGS), one of whom exhibits a decidedly violent temper. Soon there's a shotgun-toting psychopath among them, playing his own twisted game of life and death. Will anyone survive the night?
Frankly, I didn't expect much from the movie. Shot entirely in a single location and playing out in roughly "real time," Young's THE KILLING JAR turned out to be an above-average indie thriller with an exceptional, geek-friendly cast - especially Madsen, who actually seems to be engaged and "present" in the film for a change, and Benson, who infuses the world-weary Noreen with considerable humanity - and a surprisingly strong script. Most of the dialogue plays quite naturally (thanks, in great part, to the experienced cast), and while the pace is maybe a bit too leisurely, the director does manage a decent amount of tension. The violence, when it occurs, is brutal and graphic, and overall, the movie is very well shot and edited.
The DVD from Image Entertainment sports a very nice 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer, with nice warm colors and a pristine image. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1. The only extra is the film's trailer.
THE KILLING JAR is not likely to win any great awards, but it is a perfectly satisfactory entertainment, and at a lean 90 minutes, it doesn't overstay its welcome. I enjoyed it, but while I'm not certain it merits a purchase (unless you're a big Amber Benson fan), it's at least worth a rental.
BUY: The Killing Jar