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The Killing Jar (2010)

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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.



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Cast overview:
Patron #1
Patron #2
Radio Announcer (voice) (as Mark H. Young)
Emily Catherine Young ...
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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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody violence, and for language

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

January 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Asesinos al Amanecer  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$400,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After hearing the news of the nearby murders, Jimmy turns the radio off ... most people would instead turn it up to listen for more details. See more »


[first lines]
Noreen: Whew, sure is hot out tonight.
Hank: Hot.
Lonnie: Hotter than nine naked women in a Volkswagen.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"No butterflies were harmed during the making of this film." See more »


References America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back (1988) See more »


The One I Need
Written by James Saez, Lew Temple and Laura Saez
Performed by Amber Benson, Laura Saez
Published by Rosalyrics Publishing
See more »

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User Reviews

Nearly perfect script and stellar acting make this claustrophobic blood fest a minor classic
4 September 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Killing Jar has one of those scripts that is almost too perfect. It recalls iron-clad thrillers like Ira Levin's "Deathtrap" and David Mamet's "House of Games" with its no-detail-is-too-minor subtleties. And it even brought to mind shades of Mark Medak's "When You Comin' Back Red Ryder?" And then there are the Tarantino influences....

Look, any script that can rarely veer outside of one location for an hour and a half and still keep your attention is doing something right, but film-fest fave Mark Young's The Killing Jar, save for a few bad MINOR character performances (Danny Trejo phoning it in as Danny Trejo is the most obvious), does practically everything right.

It's late one night at a local diner in a no name redneck town, and all the locals are there, killing time. A report comes on the radio about a mass-murder in the next town over. When an anonymous stranger (Michael Madsen) arrives with a surly, stand-offish attitude, they gradually begin to suspect he's the perpetrator.

What follows is an elaborate set of mind games and mental torture that reminded me favorably of "Ryder" in their intimate intensity, interspersed with a lot of sudden violence and gore. I liked how violent this movie was. It drove home the immediacy of the character's peril, fit with the script's over-arching theme, and looked very real...the blood is dark red and there are buckets of it...very similar to how it was used in Tarantino's classic Reservoir Dogs.

That smacks of homage, as does the casting of Michael Madsen, who is playing, for better or worse, Mr. Blonde again. But you know what? I didn't care. The dude is good, and he has that role down pat. What surprised me were the alluring performances by the rest of the cast, most notably Amber Benson (who even contributes the closing song). She plays Noreen, a waitress who's drawn painfully true-to-life. Something in Ms. Benson's facial expressions and delivery really sell you on the goodness of her intentions and she's the badly needed anchor for this film. Harold Perrineau and Kevin Gage also provide solid support within difficult-to-pull-off multi-layered characters.

The Killing Jar keeps you guessing and is ultimately very satisfying. It feels like a very well-written stage play. It deserves your attention, especially if you like character-driven suspense films.

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