The Killing Jar - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Killing Jar Reviews

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½ February 24, 2015
What an underrated film! It really reminded me of a 1950's crime thriller, with the small cast, and limited setting, your being held hostage as much as the patrons, which keeps the focus on the dialog and characters. Madsen is excellent as usual.
March 20, 2014
One line summary: Nice character driven small film.


The film is shot in a diner (the Copal Grill) in a small town called Silver Lake, where the lake has dried up some years back. Jimmie is the manager/owner/cook, Noreen is the waitress on duty during the film, Dixon is the man passing through from a conference to his home in Brooklyn. Lonnie is one of the local cops; Hank sort of lives at the diner. Doe blows in after the group heard the story of a family of four getting murdered in a nearby town. He immediately gets on Noreen's case, and pisses Jimmie off.

Lonnie is one of the dullest tools in the shed, and he does not pick up on Doe being a possible problem. Noreen convinces him to talk to the man. He does. Doe leaves, then comes back with a fully loaded multi-shot shotgun. He kills Lonnie and Jimmie immediately for the insults.

Noreen, John, Hank, and the two teen-aged kids are stuck in the diner with Doe. For a short while, Doe seems to have everything under control, but then Greene walks into the diner. Greene brings money to pay 'Mr. Smith' for the job completed. Greene tries to walk out, but Doe informs him that he is not Smith. Of course, we've already met Smith; we just have to find out who it is.

Greene attempts to bargain with Doe. That does not work. Turns out it was a real estate deal that Greene wanted to complete to avoid vengeance from loan sharks. To cure his problem, Greene hires an enforcer to convince the farmer to sell his land. So the enforcer did the murders of the family that the diner heard about earlier.

Do we discover who the enforcer is? Does anyone escape from Doe?


Cinematography: 7/10 Iffy at best, but the lighting in diners does suck.

Sound: 9/10 Pretty good; all the actors were well-miked.

Acting: 9/10 Good. I liked Madsen, Busey, Benson, Perrineau, and Gage quite well. Trejo's part was small, but he was good for the spot.

Screenplay: 8/10 Nicely done.
½ March 19, 2014
Nothing about this movie worked, but A for effort.
March 15, 2014
How much pain can you endure?

A stranger walks into a local dinner shortly after a report airs that someone has brutally killed a local farm family. The police officer at the bar jumps to conclusions and assumes the man in the bar is the one responsible for the murder. The patron gets offended, goes out to the car, gets a shotgun, and kills the police officer. Shortly after the shooting a guy comes in with money to pay the man responsible for killing the farm family. Is the guy with the shotgun the killer of the farm family, or is it someone else and things are about to get complicated...

"Are you a killer?"
"Yeah, if you count the wildlife I hit with my car."

Mark Young, director of Tooth and Nail, Southern Gothic, Phreaker, and the upcoming Wicked Blood and A Glass Darkly, delivers The Killing Jar. The storyline for this picture is actually pretty fascinating with great characters and a fantastic script. The action scenes are beautiful and the acting was better than I anticipated. The cast includes Michael Madsen, Harold Perrineau, Danny Trejo, Amber Benson, Kevin Gage, and Lew Temple.

"I can't do this mister. I'm going to be sick."
"Then be sick. Do what I told you."

I caught this movie off Netflix because the cast was interesting and the premise seemed worthwhile. There were aspects of this movie that felt like blatant rip-offs from Tarantino's early work, specifically Reservoir Dog, but I tried not to hold that against this film. I definitely enjoyed watching it unfold and found this to be slightly underrated. I recommend seeing this picture for sure.

"I guess it can't rain forever."

Grade: B
½ January 8, 2014
Poor movie even though Michael Madsen stars there's simply nothing to warrant enduring the 90 minute running time
Super Reviewer
October 6, 2013
An interesting movie, just not part of the horror genre.
September 20, 2013
This was a nice surprise. It's like a violent version of Glengarry Glen Ross or Twelve Angry Men because it takes place in one isolated location and everyone's much more mysterious then they initially appear.
Enjoyed it last night, and enjoyed it even more this morning after thinking about it.
August 2, 2013
Intriguing up until the anticlimactic ending.
½ May 1, 2013
feels like a remake of the gr8 WB classic 'the pertrified forest'
January 21, 2013
An incredibly violent and chilling visit to a diner for about a dozen people. Where the script may leave you wondering at times the action is bone chilling and very gruesome at each turn. Definitely a good suspenseful movie.
½ October 12, 2012
just terrible on so many levels
½ July 29, 2012
Just watched this stale one-room whodunit. Some decent actors are wasted in this flick.
½ June 15, 2012
An average thriller. Felt very stagey and some bad overacting. An OK late night flick but nothing more than a forgetable B movie..
April 29, 2012
Blindingly transparent siege movie with no surprises, the bloody violence aside, for any schooled film watcher. Kills are bloody and initially fairly graphic but as things go on they get less and less interesting. Young must have seen Reservoir Dogs as his movie is a thinly veneered ripoff, a point many critics seem to have missed even with Madsen onboard.
½ April 23, 2012
Its really silly but it was meant to be.
½ March 8, 2012
This movie is pretty much pointless. There's no plot here. It's just about someone going into a diner, interrogating everyone, killing everyone, getting killed himself & there's no reason why. It's just a film. I won't say it's the worse I've ever seen. But it's definitely the most pointless one.
March 3, 2012
Extremely violent ,sloppy story made watchable by Michael Madesn
February 21, 2012
This movie was complete sh*t. The only person who makes this movie worth watching is Michael Madsen. He gives a rather well done performance. However, the other actors are bland and don't draw you in at all. The plot is redculous and nonsensical.
February 20, 2012
I like the concept, but this felt a bit dragged-out and repetitive. A bigger budget would have done this film great justice. Overall though, not bad... I just would have liked to see some better effects and a quicker pace.
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