Movie Review – The Killing Jar (2010)

The Killing Jar, 2010.

Written and Directed by Mark Young.
Starring Michael Madsen, Harold Perrineau, Amber Benson, Jake Busey, Danny Trejo, Kevin Gage, Lew Temple, Lindsey Axelsson and Talan Torriero.


A stranger armed with a shotgun takes seven patrons hostage in a remote roadside diner. But as the body count increases, the desperate survivors discover that one of the hostages may be even more dangerous than their captor.

Seven people are taken hostage in a run down diner by a stranger named Doe (Michael Madsen) and one by one he begins to murder them. The people in the diner believe this man is the suspect involved with killing a family, a story that has been all over the local radio stations. Another man enters the diner to pay a Mr. Smith, the man who killed the family. We learn that the stranger is not Mr. Smith, meaning someone inside is more dangerous than person holding them hostage.

With a premise like this, The Killing Jar could have been something filled with suspense and intensity. Ultimately what we get on screen is neither suspenseful nor intense. Most of the problem comes from the direction by Mark Young. He can barely get any emotion out of the actors involved, has written a script filled with cringe-worthy dialogue and it feels like he never knows exactly what he wants to do with the film.

There’s a point in the movie where a twist arises that’s supposed to be shocking. The only problem is that not only is it not shocking, but it’s also very obvious. After we learn that Doe isn’t the one who killed the family there really is only one other person it could be. Some of the characters have already been killed off so trying to figure out who the real killer is takes about two seconds to guess. This is just another example of the weak script.

The acting here is anything but good. All of the unknown actors give some pretty bad performances and show why they aren’t very well known. As for the actors involved that you will recognize, well they aren’t much better. Michael Madsen is decent in his role but he’s done so much better in other movies. Maybe if there had been a different director involved Madsen might have worked out better. Worst of all in the cast is Amber Benson. I’m not sure if it’s just this movie she’s bad in, having not seen any of her previous work, but she gives the impression that this is the first role she’s gotten and has stage fright throughout the entire movie. Harold Perrineau is the one bright spot in the movie. He continues to get roles that are so far beneath his talent, but he still manages to pull out decent performances despite being in a number of mediocre movies.

Had The Killing Jar had a different director and changed the majority of the cast it could have ended up being an entertaining thriller. Instead we have to succumb to cringe-worthy acting, a script with terrible dialogue and direction from an incompetent director.

Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ / Movie ★

Jake Peffer

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  • Ron Bradley

    Having seen the film I agree with you in so much as putting the blame for the failings of the film at the feet of the director. he seemingly believes that holding a shot for as long as possible, ala Leone, ratchets up tension but if you hold it too long with characters that dont evoke interest, then it just gets very dull and tedious very quickly. As for the performances I would say i agree in