Like “Saw,” but sort of topical, Jonathan Liebesman’s midnight movie “The Killing Room” is about a room in which people are killed — killed by the government! Or perhaps just one of those government-associated top secret groups that are always capable of levels of devious competence far beyond the capabilities yet demonstrated by any actual existing bureaucracy, I’m a little iffy on it all. Four people who think they’re signing up for medical testing find themselves instead part of a deadly experiment to find…what? We’re forced to guess as it all goes down alongside Chloë Sevigny, who plays a gifted psychologist with an icy disposition and some hot heels brought in to observe and to audition for a job under program head Dr. Phillips (Peter Stormare). Nick Cannon, Timothy Hutton and Clea DuVall are among the unfortunate subjects, and the quality that’s being searched for by the sadistic process to which they’re submitted is actually pretty intriguing. Alas, the reasoning behind it is dumb, dumb, dumb (but sort of topical!), and the film shamelessly sets itself up for a sequel of more torture in the name of current events. There is, at least, some nice set design, with the room in which the main action takes place, blindingly monochromatic, with bolted-down, oddly skewed institutional furniture, giving off an atmosphere of foreboding sterility.
[Photo: “The Killing Room,” Eleven Eleven Films, 2009]